Turn that frown upside down and laugh out loud!

When you are feeling down, when you find it hard to feel motivated to start your day, or when the little things in life feel overwhelmingly big, just pause for a moment. This space you created just now, in this very moment is an opportunity to take a detour to lighten your load OR to slip back into feeling down, stressed, depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. It is your choice. It is all up to you.

Hey Happy wants to support and encourage you to consider an alternative to feeling down and out, an alternative to the lack of motivation you feel or the anxiety from all the little things piling up. A detour to consider instead of just hanging on to that frown.

The activity we created to change your mood state is to watch a funny video. This might seem silly, stupid, or confusing depending on your state of mind now. So, hang on, and let me explain the science behind it.

Gelotology is the formal study of laughter. They are actual specialists studying laughter and its effects on the body and mind. Multi-million-dollar companies also dedicate their time to developing content that makes people laugh. Why? Because people love laughing!

Your brain is wired to respond positively to laughter and smiles. Laughing generates ‘feel good’ chemicals which is a great way of uplifting your mood. Dr Lee Berk who has been studying the effects of laughter since 1988 encourages people to laugh every day. He reports that laughter affects our mental and physical health.  When we laugh, the production of dopamine (providing us pleasure and reward as well as anti-anxiety benefits) gets triggered. Laughter also improves our memory, our cognitive processing and mood.

From a physical perspective, laughter release endorphins (your body’s natural painkiller), and serotonin (your body’s anti-depressant). Laughter also reduces stress, increases oxygen intake, lowers blood pressure, and enhances your immune system. Dr Lee Berk also states that the duration of your laugh is not as important as the reason behind it. He encourages others to laugh as often and as much as they need until they feel better.

According to the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, laughing therapy has even been proven to be effective and scientifically supported as a single or adjuvant therapy for stress and depression.

So whether you watch old Candid Camera episodes or whether you find some videos on TikTok or You Tube, laugh out loud and reap the benefits of laughter!

written by Derika de Villiers, Clinical psychologist