One of the neurochemicals we get a boost of when we laugh is serotonin which acts as a neurotransmitter that has been identified as playing a major role in depression and anxiety though it is not fully understood. Serotonin is found mainly in the brain, central nervous system, blood platelets and bowels and studies have shown that a deficit in serotonin can lead to depression and other mood disorders.
There are various ways we can increase the levels of serotonin in our body including getting outside into the sunlight more, maintaining a regular sleeping pattern, eating wholegrain foods, exercise, massage and, of course, laughter.
Some anti-depressants aim to increase serotonin levels. These are called anti- Serotonin-Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). If you are or have taken anti-depressant medication or medication prescribed for anxiety, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) it may well have been an SSRI .
As well as elevating your mood serotonin helps to boost your self-esteem and confidence and creates a sense of belonging. It can also regulate sleep and reduce pain. Try to challenge yourself regularly, getting out of your comfort zone and letting your inhibitions and ego fall by the wayside. Laughter Yoga can help with all of these things so why not give it a try?
But most of all pursue things that have real meaning to you and that give you a real sense of achievement and joy. You are totally unique – embrace that uniqueness!