A review of academic research indicates that the use of humor therapy might alleviate signs of depression and anxiety.
For the analysis, which was published in Brain and Behavior, researchers analyzed 29 pertinent studies. These studies collectively involved 2,964 participants from nine distinct countries.
Participants had depression or anxiety and included children undergoing surgery or anesthesia; older people in nursing homes; patients with Parkinson’s disease, cancer, mental illness, or receiving dialysis; retired women; and college students. Examples of humor therapy included medical clowns and laughter therapy/yoga.
Most participants thought humor therapy lessened their depression and anxiety, but some considered the effect to be insignificant.
“As a simple and feasible complementary alternative therapy, humor therapy may provide a favorable alternative for clinicians, nurses, and patients in the future,” the authors wrote.
Reference: “The impact of humor therapy on people suffering from depression or anxiety: An integrative literature review” by Xuefeng Sun, Jindan Zhang, Yidan Wang, Xiaotu Zhang, Sixuan Li, Zihan Qu and Hongshi Zhang, 21 June 2023, Brain and Behavior.