To live longer, we have to rest

 LAUGH OUT LOUD

The Big Idea
A team of comedians who suffer from depression show us how, in this case, laughter may really be the best medicine.

The concept of schadenfreude. Making one’s pain someone else’s pleasure. Oof.

Getting people to laugh at your pain may sound sadistic, but that’s the funny thing — it might actually work! Comedians Tony Calabrese, Mark Christopher Lawrence and Dave Callans have all suffered from depression, and are dedicated to helping lift everyone else’s spirits.

This trio believes that comedy is the remedy. While the relationship between comedy and depression may be different for each individual, generally laughter could be a helpful tool and the medical community has taken notice of laughter and humour therapy as treatment.

Studies show that laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity, and endorphins secreted by laughter can help when people are in a comfortable or depressed mood. Plus, it’d be a good stress-reliever.

Laughing at yourself for the LOLs

When it’s tough to laugh, Callans says it might be hard to even talk yourself into going up on stage, especially when depression makes you dread the audience, and worse still, yourself. But for the trio, it’s all with it when they get out there and the sadness dissolves into giggles.

Lawrence finds that what makes it therapeutic is that you can laugh at yourself. Being able to laugh at what you’re going through may just make life a whole lot easier to manage.

Wanna be in the pink of health? Don’t be a grumpers.

Admittedly, a good sense of humour can’t cure all ailments but really does your mental health and body some good — from soothing tension to improving your immune system. 

Go ahead, try it! Tell a joke or pick a funny show over a murder mystery (where my B99 fanatics at?) Do you feel a little less tense? That’s the magic of laughter right there.

If you’re feeling depressed and would like a little help, check out our guide to seeing a psychiatrist in Singapore.

SNIPPETS

5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣ Soy yummy! For the health-conscious food-lovers, there’s always meatless bak kwa made out of soy protein from mushrooms, sold at supermarkets or online.

2️⃣ Fine dining: Man fined for feeding bananas to hornbills.

3️⃣ Get high! Thailand’s hospital restaurant serves cannabis-infused food after it was de-listed as a narcotic.

4️⃣ We’ve got you covered: 9 silk face masks that are gentle on your skin and just as effective.

5️⃣ This is the bomb! These colourful, ethereal tea bombs are not just beautiful but also therapeutic and healthy.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣ Puppy-eyed: Puppy photos cause the release of dopamine and oxytocin, making you fall head-over-heels in love!

2️⃣ Spice up your life: The hottest chili pepper in the world is so hot it could kill you.

3️⃣ Twinning: There are more twins now than ever before.

4️⃣ The good, the bad, and the ugly: A new species of orchid in Madagascar termed the world’s ugliest orchid.

5️⃣ Oh shit! The colour of your poop can reveal a lot about your health status.

RESTING TO LIVING LONGER

The Big Idea
New research underway on how over-excitation could be linked to a shorter life span. How exciting!

Getting hyped up might shorten your lifespan

Bruce Yanker, senior study author and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and his team of researchers examined donated healthy brains and found that their owners who lived longer had one thing in common: they had more REST.

No, not that kind of rest. This REST is a powerful protein, and studies suggest that it helps slow ageing and protects against stress and dementia.

REST your mind

The basis of this study is that lower neural activity may actually lead to a longer lifespan. Conversely, over-excitation could be linked to a shorter life span. Did you hear that? Time to take off those split screens on your laptop.

They hypothesise that REST suppresses genes involved in neural excitation, which then lead to longer lifespans. However, scientists still aren’t sure exactly which activities lead to less REST or too much activity in the brain.

Don’t be a bum

Hold up. Don’t fill up the tub and stay there forever yet — Yanker cautions that without controlled clinical trials, it’s impossible to draw conclusions for humans and how we can apply this to our lives. So at this point, it’s still limited and a realm yet to be explored.

We believe it’s all about daily choices and giving your body the due rest it needs. Can’t sleep? Check out this guide to sleep disorders in Singapore!

SHOWER THOUGHTS

Weird & Wonderful

  1. Overthinking has likely ruined more lives than underthinking.
  2. If you know someone over 93 years old, they are literally older than sliced bread.
  3. If humans burned calories as quickly as many people wanted to, we would not have survived very long.
  4. If instructional videos on saving lives, E.g. How to do CPR, playing whilst games were loading you’d have millions of people well versed on them.
  5. Any sauce can be hot sauce if you microwave it long enough.
PICTURE OF THE DAY

Self-portrait by Bryan Charnley

The Big Idea:
An insight into the myth of the “tortured artist” and how art could help with mental health.

The “tortured artist” myth

Most of us are familiar with post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, an old master with amazing, expressive oil paintings — but also as the tortured soul who suffered from episodes of depression, hallucinations and mood swings, and in his battle with psychosis, eventually took his own life.

The “tortured artist” myth has been around for a while — the idea that artists were great artists because of their mental illness. We’d like to caution though, that it’s unhealthy to romanticise mental health problems, and it might prevent people from seeking professional help. 

A recent (but controversial) study concluded that creative genius and mental disorders may have a genetic correlation. On the other hand, here’s another study that examines how individuals with creative professions are not more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders. 

We’d like to believe that these artists are great artists because of their talent. And perhaps, artists are just more expressive by nature, in which their illness is more likely expressed through their art.

What’s the takeaway? Artists don’t get their creative prowess from their mental illness and art can serve as a healthy medium for you to express your emotions, and perhaps help with mental illness.

In this photo: Schizophrenic Bryan Charnley will make your jaw drop with this stunning self-portrait where his brain is replaced by a huge, gaping mouth that is all-consuming in his attempt to show his inability to voice his innermost thoughts. 

Pei Hui

Pei Hui loves buying books but has no time to read them. She’s too busy dating and writing most of the time. Other than that, she loves a good Kopi anytime, anywhere. She takes her pills every night before bed and honestly, the one at work is so much better.