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Fatimah Ghanim

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Why is it taking people triple the effort to laugh these days?

People rarely laugh these days. With stand up comedians finding new windows of opportunity to enter societies, and with technology developing that should presumably make our lives easier, why is depression still a growing disease and why are people becoming more depressed? I'm interested in hearing some feedback from social psychologists (if any) and other theories of how we can improve the society's mental well-being.

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  • Aug 14 2011: Well, firstly, how do you know that it does take us triple the effort to laught at the moment? But, my theory is that we forget what is rewarding in life, people who value family and people are happier than those who are always looking for the next thing- for that promotion at work, the bigger house the flashiest car etc. I think that this is proven by the fact the children and babies laugh much more than adults do. (Just come into my classroom at school and you'll see an example of this).
    • Aug 14 2011: Hi Rachel

      Thanks for your reply. Well, it takes a lot more effort to smile these days, saying 'triple' just means that - no statistics involved. But I do agree, children and babies laugh so much more than adults do. When is the time or at what phase does this transition happen in a person?
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        Aug 15 2011: Children and babies laugh just as openly as they express a whole array of emotions such as anger and hurt. They cry too. However, with adults we teach children at a cetain age that it is inappropriate to openly engage in their emotions...instead we teach them to surpress and the appropriate times in which it is OK to express emotions (even if they are authentically feeling something entirely different within!)

        You can laugh with friends and at play, but not during prayer or in religious ceremonies for instance. You cannot laugh during class, you must sit still and listen. I mean if you really sit down and think about the social norms of what we teach are appropriate and innappropriate, you can then began to see how this transition is formed and takes place.

        Teenagers naturally rebell as they are not children and quite aware of the intense emotions and changes they are going through. I remember quite well feeling as though our dreams, our own beings would die once we became like the adults we see around us. We didn't want that world of hating work, getting up, watching TV, going to sleep, paying dues and bills. We wanted to LIVE life.

        This is just my personal experience of course, but even without it, adults learned to supress and we rarely ever get to truly connect with others authentically. We are compartmentalized beings, where you are a mother, sister, daughter, co-worker, employee, or employer/manager,friend and all these have certain expectations that are learned. When do we get to really discover who we really are? Ourr passions and dreams and place and contribution to this fabric of life?

        Most rather veg after dealing with an array of expectations. Or escape. Let lose, party, laugh, and/or entertain ourselves in various ways. We need a release, and that release can be different depending on person, beliefs, culture, etc.

        To me, I find that the materialistic relief as well as entertainment only temporary releases. We must go deep

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