Laughter--the Unsung Hero for Alleviating Depression

February 23, 2014 Liana M. Scott

When you're depressed, it can seem impossible to laugh but when you suffer from depression, laughter can help alleviate your symptoms.

While there seems to be no definitive, medical evidence that links laughter with improved serotonin levels (the lack of which is said to play an integral part in depression), laughter is definitely the unsung hero when it comes to alleviating depression symptoms.


"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane." - Robert Frost

It is a fact, however, that laughter increases dopamine and endorphin levels and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And it feels pretty damn good too.

Last week, I wrote about what having depression has taught me. While not an actual treatment, per se, laughter is definitely at the top of my list of things that helped me during my major depressive episodes and helps keep me in depression remission.

I've had kind of a rough few weeks. I suffered a depression low followed by an extremely emotional week followed by this past week when I caught a whopping head cold. Couple these last few weeks with the fact that it is still February and brutally cold, and things were looking pretty grim.

Laughter Helps a Rough Week

Last night, Hubby and I were flipping through literally hundreds of channels trying to decide what to watch. Finding nothing that piqued our interest (I know, I know - first world problem), we decided to see if Netflix had anything to offer. We chose to watch a few comedy specials (Lewis Black, Louis C.K. and Jeff Dunham). I laughed so hard that, while I suffered more than a few coughing fits, it left me feeling incredible! Light. Happy. Optimistic.

"Always laugh when you can; it is cheap medicine." - Lord Byron

It's damned near impossible to laugh when you have depression. I know this - first hand. Still, lacking motivation to do anything else and with less than half a thimble full of energy, I would seek out a respite from my depression symptoms in laughter.

Whether it's finding a funny show on TV or hilarious animal videos on YouTube or comedy specials on Netflix, laughter is the unsung hero when it comes to alleviating depression symptoms.

A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

APA Reference
Scott, L. (2014, February 23). Laughter--the Unsung Hero for Alleviating Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Liana M. Scott

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February, 24 2014 at 11:43 am

For me, laughter was the 1st sign that I was getting better. My wife and I watch a lot of stand up and this helps me the most.
Laughing keeps me in the present moment while giving my body a jolt of "positive electricity".

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
February, 24 2014 at 12:04 pm

Such an awesome way to articulate it! "a jolt of positive electricity".

Shelley Wehrman
February, 26 2014 at 2:08 pm

I had been at what was possibly my worst depression ever, it was the end of a rough day and I waslaying on my bed watching t.v. - Jimmy Fallon to be specific. I got tickled at his silliness. I laughed uncontrollably, and I felt the burden of my depression literally leave my body. It was so awesome! Consequently, I am a firm believer in laughter!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
February, 26 2014 at 2:38 pm

Hey Shelley. I'm SO glad that laughter has helped ease your depression. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Lenny Kouma
March, 7 2014 at 6:44 am

A couple of understanding friends with a sense of humor is great therapy

March, 10 2015 at 7:21 pm

I absolutely second with you that laughter is definitely the unsung hero. It is well said that laughter is strong medicine for mind and body. Such an awesome way to articulate it I work with PFF as it is very helpful and positive approach to parenting your difficult child.

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