While traveling through various universities and colleges last week I noticed a few groups of students playing the bawdy card game “Cards Against Humanity” and really laughing their asses off. I’ve played the game with friends, I know where that laughter comes from; while the content of the game is not for the timid, it’s sure to solicit a lot of ROTFLMAO posts.

I remembered an article over laughteronlineuniversity.com, which explained the science behind how the laughter helps fight depression. Here are a few experts:

“The human brain is wired to respond positively to laughter and smiles, generating ‘feel-good’ chemicals. The wiring is so strong that the brain responds even when we smile at ourselves in the mirror.

“When we smile, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. The release of dopamine when we feel happy causes us to smile, and the mere act of smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which in turn makes us feel happy.

This is not just about dopamine. Laughter causes the body to release into the bloodstream high concentrations of different hormones and neuropeptides related to feelings of happiness, bonding, tolerance, generosity, compassion and love. Some call it a joy cocktail.

The presence of this joy cocktail precludes the production of other hormones and neuropeptides that are related to feelings of hatred, fear, violence, jealousy, aggression. It is impossible to feel both at the same time.

Not only does dopamine make you happier, it turns on all the learning centers in your brain, allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.”

So, as the saying goes, “it’s science!” Do yourself a favour: Schedule “funny nights” where you regularly play games like Cards Against Humanity, queue up a “funny movie,” or go to comedy clubs. Anything that makes you and your friends laugh.

Don’t wait to experience depression to do this. And don’t just look to help yourself. Do this with friends so that you take care of them and they take care of you.