Essay: Is Laughter the Best Medicine? How about Crying?
I often hear that laughter is the best medicine. People usually say that we should always smile to channel positivity and good vibes. For instance, joy and delight in Filipino culture are very evident. But, does this smile and laughter that is plastered upon almost every Filipino face shield them from any mental health problem? Laughter is the best medicine. Isn’t it?
Filipinos are known for our sunny disposition. It is considered rare walking in the streets of the Philippines without witnessing the radiance of every Filipino smile. We always find a way to propagate happiness despite the constant obstacles we need to overcome every single day. According to Marlo Thomas, “Laughter is important, not only because it makes us happy, but it also has actual health benefits. And that’s because laughter completely engages the body and releases the mind. It connects us to others and that in itself has a healing effect.” However, many Filipinos are still caged inside an unending peril of extreme sadness and depression. I wonder why laughter is considered to stimulate happiness where many people are still experiencing depression despite showcasing laughter and happiness.
On the other hand, crying is associated with weakness, especially in men. Some people choose to conceal their pain because they don’t want to be labeled by society as weak and fragile. However, Antonio Sausys asserted that unexpressed feelings create rigidity and tension, which crying can alleviate. He also added from a social standpoint that crying provides help, comfort, and improvement of communication. Thus, this only exhibits that weighing laughter and crying as a tool to ease depression possess an equal value and portray great importance in handling mental health problems.
Even though the existence of mental health problems is already proven by science, many Filipinos are still uncertain about its nature and diagnosis. Some are barely recognizing depression as an illness. Instead, they asserted that depression together with other mental illnesses is just a product of our wide imagination and should be given no attention at all. The Department of Health addressed this issue and stated that there is a need to talk about depression to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Perhaps laughing is not truly the best medicine. A laughter medicine may be effective for specific circumstances but it does not automatically apply to all. Sometimes laughter is not a sign of happiness but rather a mask. A mask that aims to conceal the darkness we have been battling since then. So if you are wearing that mask, you are free to tear it apart. It is okay to cry, it is okay to seek help, it is okay not to smile at all times. Tears are not a sign of weakness. Sometimes, tears symbolize the language of pain that we cannot express verbally. Believe me, crying is brave. Indeed, laughing is medicine for mental health, so as crying. There is nothing wrong with laughing to see a hint of sunshine to save us from total darkness. There is also nothing wrong with drowning in tears to help ease the pain. At the end of the day, we are human beings who are capable of feeling pain. Dear someone, it’s okay not to be okay.