Comedy and Mental Health

Laughter has many mental health benefits.

More and more people are getting into stand up comedy.

Where I live, the comedy scene has grown a lot over the past few years and still continues to.

My best friend does stand up. I saw her do a set about a year and a half ago. I was hooked so I started going to more and more shows in the area and became friends with local comedians.

There is a wide variety of comics – every sex, every race, every age – and they all bring something unique to the comedy scene.

Comedians are also very dedicated to what they do. Most are willing to travel out of city, out of province/state for a gig that pays so little, if anything.

According to staff at HelpGuide.org, watching comedy has quite a few mental health benefits:

  • It adds joy and zest to life.
  • It eases anxiety, fear and relieves stress.
  • It improves mood.
  • It enhances resilience.
  • It strengthens relationships and promotes group bonding.
  • “Laughter makes you feel good … Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.”
  • “Laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better.”
  • “Laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.”
  • “Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.”
  • “Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.”
  • “Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.”[1]

Another thing comedy has taught me is that it’s okay to laugh about my mistakes, problems, and past – when appropriate. It has taught me to not take life too seriously.

I have been watching Amy Schumer’s show and reading her book. She’s my favourite professional comedian and she has taught me just that.

In her book, she is also serious at times. She has taught be about self-esteem, confidence and how we don’t need a guy to tell us we’re pretty.

There was a period where I struggled with not having a guy in my life. It happens once in a while, but this particular time, I was willing to accept anything to have the affection I was craving. I didn’t end up meeting anyone during this period. But I was reading Amy’s book and I came across a chapter where a guy took advantage of her vulnerability. It helped me. She tells us we don’t need a guy, especially one that isn’t for us, to feel worthy and good about ourselves.

“And for anyone who has ever looked for love and found nothing more than a denim-on-denim-on-leather-wearing Hair Club for Men dude, I just want to say, Love yourself! You don’t need a man or a boy or a self-proclaimed love expert to tell you what you’re worth. Your power comes from who you are and what you do! You don’t need all that noise, that constant hum in the background telling you whether or not you’re good enough. All you need is you, your friends, and your family. And you will find the right person for you, if that’s what you want – the one who respects your strength and beauty.” – Amy Schumer, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo


References

[1] Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2016). Laughter is the Best Medicine. HelpGuide.org. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *