We’ve all heard the term, “laughter is the best medicine”, but is there any truth to that? There have been several studies on the subject, and most show that there does appear to be a positive correlation between laughter and mental health. In one article written by The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institutional Letter, they noted that in people with depression, there is a decrease in the regions of the brain that are associated with something humorous. Knowing this, scientists may be able to develop a treatment that can potentially decrease the symptoms of depression!
Scientists also know that when someone is laughing or finds something humorous, the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that rewards the brain to signal something pleasurable. We are programmed to increase doing things that our brain deems pleasurable and decrease doing things that are not. This is a no brainer (see what I did there?).
Of course, we don’t need science to tell us laughter feels good and helps us feel better, at least for the moment. Next time you’re feeling down, try watching or reading something funny. It may seem forced, but you may also notice a slight change in your mood. I recommend laughing whenever possible. It may not work, but at the very least, it can’t hurt!