Life is Better When You Are Laughing

Apple a Day Blog | October 23, 2017
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For those living with cancer, it may seem difficult to find a happy state of mind, but laughter can become a source of relief even when facing this particular hardship.

Studies show that laughter, when used as a complementary therapy, brings positive results with virtually no negative side effects.1 When we laugh, many systems within our bodies are positively affected. Laughter can help lower levels of hormones that cause stress, and can also have a positive effect on the immune system.2

According to the American Cancer Society, laughter may help you feel better about yourself and the world around you. After laughing for only a few minutes, you may feel better for hours.

Laughter also may provide physical benefits, such as helping to enhance oxygen intake and improve mental functions. Having a good chuckle while fighting cancer can help temporarily relieve your pain and relax the muscles throughout your body.3

Studies show that having interactions with loved ones and finding humor in situations can help the brain release endorphins, which serve as a natural energy booster for your body and also a natural mood enhancer.

Incorporating laughter in your life can help your body’s overall function while also making the long journey of cancer a little more bearable.

“Finding laughter and creating a happy state of mind for yourself can be one of the easiest stress reduction techniques,” says Brian Lawenda, M.D., 21st Century Oncology’s National Director of Integrative Oncology and Cancer Survivorship. “Laughter promotes relaxation, helps relieve stress and enhances the overall quality of your life.”

Need some ideas to get your laugh back? Here are a few:

  • Spend more time with family and friends that truly make you happy- those that make you smile and laugh. Don’t be afraid to let everyone know when you could use a laugh break because sometimes your friends and family may not know how to act. 
  • Go see a stand-up comedian.
  • Watch a funny sitcom or movie.
  • Follow a funny podcast.
  • Try laughing yoga or goat yoga (yes, they do exist).
  • Read the funny pages – it will make you feel like a kid again.
  • Lose the news and listen to comedy radio during your commutes.

Want more tips to reduce stress during cancer treatment?  Try this relaxing breathing technique: https://www.21co.com/blog/try-this-relaxation-breathing-technique

For more information about cancer visit https://www.21co.com/radiation-therapy/what-to-expect


Sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2762283/ 
2. http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/Archive/2010/12.html 
3. http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/11/28/no-joke-humor-therapy-helps-cancer-patients-heal.html 

About the Physician

lawenda

Dr. Brian Lawenda received the "Top Doctor" Award in radiation oncology by US News & World Report. He incorporates Integrative Oncology and medical acupuncture into his practice and is the National Director of Integrative Oncology and Cancer Survivorship. Dr. Lawenda enjoys speaking to the community in regards to education on new technologies and cancer treatments that are offered at Northwest Cancer Clinic and 21st Century Oncology.

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