“Comedy as Therapy”

I am super excited to be part of this – for a number of reasons: I get to share the stage with professional performers;  it’s for a great cause (hospital fundraiser); and perhaps, most importantly, I get to contribute to making a group of people feel good by leveraging the power of laughter.

Laughter, I believe, is truly the best medicine – especially for mental wellness.

According to Newport Academy:

“Laughter is so beneficial for mental health that psychologists have figured out ways to incorporate it into therapy. In fact, a group of psychologists formed the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH). This group of experts dedicates its time to promoting the use of humor in psychiatric settings to treat serious mental illness.”

Adding to this, another organization: Stand Up for Mental Health uses stand-up comedy “…to give mental health consumers a powerful voice and help reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental illness.”

So why is comedy or laughter so beneficial from a mental health perspective?

Here are a few reasons as listed by Newport Academy (brackets: me chiming in):

  • Releases endorphins: (from my book: laughter triggers this brain chemical which serves to reduce the perception of pain and stress in the body, and enhances immune system response);
  • Eases distressing emotions: laughter counteracts feelings of anxiety and sadness, and can ease intense emotions, such as grief (which by the way is a neurovegetative symptom of depression);
  • Relaxes and revitalizes: laughter increases energy levels and enables you to be more focused/less distracted;
  • Reduces stress: laughter reduces cortisol levels in the body (a stress hormone) and can help increase our resilience to stressful situations;
  • Simply, laughter brings more joy and fun into our life.

Comedy…an incredibly effective way to promote mental wellness and crush stigma in depression.