How comedy can improve your mental health…at a corporate event, a comedy club or even on the couch

In the past, any mentions of mental health would immediately conjure up images of straitjackets, padded cells, and tranquilizers. These days, we know better. The field of mental health is a broad one, and while some people may require these drastic interventions, most of us have come to realise that good mental health is an important part of the average Australian’s overall well-being. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to contact a psychiatrist to keep your mental health in check. There are ways of managing stress that cost you nothing, and are easy to access too.

Stress management is an important part of handling what life throws at us on a daily basis, and laughter is a fantastic tool to use to decrease it. We Australians are a stressed out a bunch, and according to findings from the Australian Psychological Society Stress and wellbeing in Australia Survey for 2015, we are more stressed than we have ever been, and frequently turn to alcohol, smoking, and other unhealthy pastimes to deal with it.

So what does any of this have to do with comedy, you ask? Well, comedy can serve as a valuable tool to manage mild stress and anxiety, and unlike drinking and smoking it costs you nothing, and you can’t overdose on it. In fact, a study by a Californian University found that even the anticipation of laughter increases beneficial chemical and hormones (such as endorphins) in the body, reducing the amount of stress released hormones in the body and providing a boost to your immune system. If just the anticipation of laughing (the feeling you feel when in a large group at a live comedy event for example) is good for us, just image what the actual laughter could do!

While the management of severe stress and anxiety is always best left to a healthcare professional, knowing that relief from the day to day pressures we face can be found at your nearest stand-up comedy event is good news for all. And these days, you can even enjoy the best that comedy has to offer from the comfort of your home by watching a stand-up comedy DVD or video on YouTube. Or maybe it’s time to put some pressure on your boss to finally organize that corporate entertainment he’s been promising for years.