Laughter has been a major part of my cancer journey. My husband Dave loves to be silly and to make me laugh. We have worked hard to surround ourselves with friends who enjoy living and laughing. When they say that laughter is the best medicine, they are not joking (see what I did there).
Laughter has been proven to boost the immune system, reduce the production of stress hormones, decrease anxiety, soften anger, lighten depression and increase our pain tolerance. As a potent endorphins releaser, our feel good chemicals, laughter makes us feel better and is highly contagious. The physical changes that occur in our body when we laugh effect our body chemistry and enhance our mood from the outside in.
Here are some suggestions on how we have made laughter a major part of our daily lives over the last twelve years:
Watching comedies (movies, tv shows), or stand up comedians can really help to lighten your spirits.
Surround yourself with people who enjoy laughing and living. Enlist the help of others on the days you cannot make yourself laugh or when you really need a boost.
Don’t take yourself too seriously – laugh with yourself.
In any given moment or situation, you have the ability to consciously choose laughter. Yes, it is a choice, sometimes a very difficult one, but a choice. You can even start with a fake laugh, force it, and soon it will turn into a real laugh. Your physiology will change, creating the chemical changes and before you know it you will be laughing for real.