A friend of mine shared the following on social media last week which I felt I had to emphasize:
Speaking from personal experience, ‘a positive workplace culture’ provides tremendous therapeutic benefit when dealing with symptoms of depression.
I wrote in a previous post that a good laugh reduces the perception of pain and can sometimes make things appear more manageable. To support this, it’s worth noting that there’s a branch of study called “gelotology” which examines the effect laughter has on our psychological and physiological states.
In their article Social Laughter Triggers Endogenous Opioid Release in Humans (published in The Journal of Neuroscience, June 1, 2017), the authors found that “Social laughter led to pleasurable feelings and significantly increased release of endorphins and other opioid peptides in the brain areas controlling arousal and emotions.”
Endorphins, as you are likely aware, produce analgesic effects in the body. Further, “Our results highlight that endorphin release induced by social laughter may be an important pathway that supports formation, reinforcement, and maintenance of social bonds between humans…laughter is highly contagious, and the endorphin response may thus easily spread through large groups that laugh together…”
I have had the privilege to work in such positive workplace cultures over the years with some amazing people. During the best of times in my mental health, and of course, the worst of times. And for this – and them – I am deeply thankful (on the eve of Thanksgiving holiday!). I truly believe with all my heart that laughter is indeed the best medicine and an incredible source of leverage when healing in depression.