This article is a holiday gift for you and your mental wellbeing. Everyone has different taste, so some might like the ideas and links about how academics are finding helpfulness of humour. But, it’s Christmas time, so I’m putting short clips of some of humour that I hope will put a smile on your face. When I was growing up far away from this English island, I discovered, then loved, British comedy. I hope there’s something here that’ll make you smile, maybe even laugh!
There is a lot written about how humour is good for our health. After all, it’s an old saying, “laughter is the best medicine”. As I started reading about it for this article, I soon found that humour is a mystery, confounding scientist and involving the realms of the philosophical and spiritual. There are theories about what purpose it serves but I think it’s like art. I don’t have to understand art to enjoy it. And we don’t have to understand humour to benefit from it.
Here’s some things that have been suggested:
“Although it seems obvious that humour has been found to improve positive emotions, moderate and separate from stress [8–13] , maybe it’s not so intuitive that studies have linked humour to relieving pain , improving the immune system and improve interpersonal processes [14, 15]. Humour has been used specifically to treat all kinds of mental health illnesses.”
I’ve learned that my negative thoughts tip over my negative emotions, like a row of dominoes making things worse and worse. Well, it seems conversely that “the experience of positive affect acts as an upward spiral and builds personal resources and resilience, while depression is alleviated [7,8,9,10]. ” Research is showing, what seems intuitive already, that “positive emotions, can bring a sustained improvement in mental health.”
Humour is only one of many positive things that can reverse the spiral of hopelessness. Think of laughter as the hero that pulls the controls up on an airplane that’s hurtling toward the ground and destruction. Humour can pull up and out of the dive, and actually climb us into the clouds of health–building connections, optimism and hope:
Laughter can improve relationships, ease tension, build a sense of cohesion and it’s often contagious–so many can benefit from laughter started by one.
regarding the next clip, (WARNING, SOME SWEARING, stay away if offended)
The people I’ve met who have the most resilient mental health, the people I know who are the kinds of people who I want to be like, my role models… They are people who laugh! They might be wise, they might be caring, they might be generous. But they have a sense of humour too!
We all struggle with our mental health. We all have problems with relationships and money and disappointment and pain. And of course these ups and downs affect our minds and emotions. But I hope we can all find a moment, a reason.. to… laugh.
Merry Christmas and I hope you check back in with us for more of our “12 Days of Christmas”.