There are various studies that research the benefits of laughter for mental health and it is clear from the anecdotal evidence from participants in our workshops that laughter is a powerful tool in the fight against depression. Some people notice the benefits after just one session for some it takes several.
It is a huge step for someone with depression or other mental health issue to make the decision to attend a Laughter Workshop as it is so different from anything they’ve ever experienced and a huge part of that laughter experience is letting go of our inhibitions. When we’re all doing the same thing as part of a structured session then it’s reassuring to feel you’re in a safe environment and nobody is laughing at you but with you. Just the act of “letting go” can take courage and effort but once you’re there, once you’ve done it the release is amazing.
“Depression is a disease, where neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, are reduced, and there is something wrong in the mood control circuit of the brain. Laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity. Furthermore, endorphins secreted by laughter can help when people are uncomfortable or in a depressed mood. Laughter therapy is a noninvasive and non-pharmacological alternative treatment for stress and depression, representative cases that have a negative influence on mental health. In conclusion, laughter therapy is effective and scientifically supported as a single or adjuvant therapy.”
This is the abstract http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27439375
This is a link to the full study: