Laughter can be just as important to successful treatment as medication.  In fact, the Bible says, “A cheerful heart does good like medicine.” 


According to researchers, as reported in Bipolar Disorder: Rebuilding Your Life, by Rev. Dr. James T. Stout, “a hearty laugh is one of the most helpful and least expensive treatments for anxiety, fear, frustration, and depression.”


Viktor Frankl, when he wrote of his imprisonment in a concentration camp, emphasized the role that humor played in his survival.  He even trained a fellow camp prisoner to develop a “laugh-filled attitude,” and both of them traded funny stories every day.


The therapeutic value of humor is widely accepted in medical and psychological circles, according to Rev. Dr. Stout[1], who reports that “numerous hospitals now have “laughing rooms” where they play comedy videotapes.”


I can see the importance of humor in everyday life, but especially in the life of a bipolar sufferer, who deals with depression on a daily basis, which some do. 


Some people say that a good laugh momentarily lightens the darkness.  It takes the edge off anger and softens stress. 


A good joke can even temporarily replace the seriousness of life with a better-balanced perspective on it.  Even the most serious of people will laugh at a good joke!


A friend of mine who has bipolar disorder says, “If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.”  She definitely uses humor to help her manage her bipolar disorder.


I don’t watch much TV, but I’ve heard other people tell me of late night TV shows where comedians make fun of people with mental illness; but if they do it in such a way as to truly be funny, and not to stigmatize them, then it can actually help with their healing.


For some people with bipolar disorder, they have become isolated and almost shy to the point that they just don’t go out much any more.  To go to see a comedian would be a good way for them to “break down” that wall of isolation and, perhaps, not take their illness so serious, if only for an hour.


Just in general, too many people take life way too seriously, bipolar disorder or not.  They need to “lighten up,” or they will get too stressed-out.  Humor is a way to do that.


Try to look for something humorous in the next couple days – I bet you’ll find some!