Published By: Jayati

Decoding the complex relationship between humour and depression

The linkage between humour and depression is more complex than you think!

There’s an age-old adage that laughter is the best medicine. And, when it comes to depression, laughter and humour can provide a respite from the constant feelings of hopelessness and despair. Depression is a complex condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it’s a serious illness that requires treatment, people often underestimate the role humour plays in the process of healing. Research has found that people with depression often have a hard time experiencing positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, and pleasure. But, humour is an emotion that can be accessed, even in the midst of depression. Humour can help in breaking down the walls of negativity that surround individuals and create moments of lightness that provide relief from depressive symptoms.

Impact of a good laugh

Moreover, when a person experiences laughter, endorphins are released into the body, and these chemicals can create a sense of pleasure and improve the person’s mood. In other words, laughter provides a much-needed break from the continuous mental distress that comes with depression.

Diminishing stress

Another significant advantage of humour is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which are commonly associated with depression. It is known that people with depression experience higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. By engaging in humour, the levels of cortisol are lowered, resulting in a reduction of stress.

Humours that don't go well

However, not all types of humour are the same, and some are more beneficial than others. Humour that relies on putting down others or involves making fun of people may provide short-term relief from depression but may ultimately exacerbate the problem. Self-deprecating humour, on the other hand, can be particularly effective in dealing with depression. Laughing at oneself takes the power away from negative thoughts, making it easier to deal with feelings of shame and guilt that often come with depression. Moreover, positive humour that’s focused on joyful and uplifting topics has been shown to improve depression. By engaging in positive and upbeat content, people with depression can shift their focus from negative to positive and create moments of hope and joy.

As they say: 'Laughter is the best medicine'

While laughter may not be the solution to treating depression, it can undoubtedly provide much-needed relief to people who suffer from the condition. Humour can help to break the vicious cycle of negative emotions and give individuals a break from their overwhelming feelings of despair. Thus, finding humour in everyday life is a worthwhile practice, especially for those struggling with depression. With positive self-talk, optimistic viewpoints, and a little humour, people with depression can better navigate their struggles and eventually move towards a more positive mindset.