It’s no joke—Start laughing to help your depression

By Lynn Santa Lucia

When you don’t have your laughter, you’ve lost your soul,” says Tanaz B., 57, of Indiana.

Tanaz lived with severe depression, in and out of hospitals for a decade, until “laughter became my mission,” she says. Now she not only makes it a point to laugh regularly, she teaches others how to do the same—and this is no joke—as a certified Laughter Yoga teacher and ambassador.


It turns out there’s some truth to the old saying that laughter is the best medicine—or at least a pretty good one. Tanaz’s psychiatrist, Suhayl J. Nasr, MD, has come to see laughter as a powerful coping mechanism and possibly a natural antidote for stress and severe depression.

“The therapeutic action of laughter on depression is striking,” says Nasr, medical director of Memorial Hospital’s psychiatric center. “[Talk] therapy does help a lot, but laughter has an interesting way of changing brain chemistry.”

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