I want to talk to you about Cancer and laughter. Do they really go together, and why you should include laughter therapy as part of your cancer treatment plan.
According to Cancer Research Uk there are 17 million new cases of cancer each year. I became one of those statistics more than 10 years ago.
Cancer is a condition that can take us on an emotional rollercoaster, diving to the the depths of overwhelming and unbelievable sadness, fear and anxiety that we didn’t think possible to feel, to the heights of happiness finding lost joy in life. But for some of us there is an inkling. Middle age brings with it some life skills gathered that often nudges us towards the idea that we can empower ourselves with choices. When a disease is ravaging our body what choices are there?
Every time I left the Doctor, he would always say ‘be happy.’
You may have heard the old saying ‘Easier said than done!’ You betcha.
My personal experience with cancer lead to believe this was in fact possible and one of the most effective ways to achieve this? Laughter.
The Mayo Clinic reports that laughter is one of the best things we can do for ourselves as excellent medicine.
So we know it feels good but what is the science behind it? One academic study from Cerebral Cortex, states that during laughter, regions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex are activated, releasing endorphins – which are famed for decreasing pain and increasing euphoria.
From the moment we begin to laugh our oxygen intake is increased, our stress and tension are released, and the brain releases endorphins that immediately changes our mood and we feel happier.
The more we laugh our immune system is boosted releasing neuropeptides that help us fight stress and a chemical fusion is triggered which causes our body to produce its own painkiller.
Overall, laughter makes us feel better and more able to deal with life and all that it throws at us.
The positive impact of laughter’s physiologic effects has been noted in various journals including The Laughter Prescription – A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine.
I personally know the power of laughter once discovered during this tumultuous time had some certain power in raising my spirits.
In Australia, we have the Gawler Foundation, which assists those with cancer with a wellness program. I was attending one of their 12-week programmes.
Some cancer patients suffer severe pain, and one of the only ways they can obtain relief is via an enema. This one particular day we sat and listened to a specialist explain that one of the best kinds is a coffee enema. She then went on to demonstrate how you can actually perform an enema, and I couldn’t contain myself any longer.
I promise I tried really hard not to open my mouth. I had this inner dialogue with good self and bad self-going back and forth with bad self-winning……
Me: “Excuse me do you get a better enema if you use Nespresso instead of Nescafe?
Well, the entire room erupted in fits of laughter.
The instructor? That poor woman. Another deadpan, blank face.
The very next week one of the guys said to me that he wasn’t able to look at Nescafe the same way anymore!
LOL (yes we can do this – abbreviated laughter can be expressed and does wonders!)
So are you getting your daily dose of LOL?
There is a LOT of ways you can get your laughter on. Comedy clubs, amusing Youtube Videos, and there are even worldwide laughter groups you can be a part of.
If you want to get out of the house, there are nationwide laughter groups you can be a part of. They are community groups that are fun and free. Laughter is a powerful healing modality that is simple, fun and filled with laughter that works simultaneously on the body, mind, and spirit.
There’s even a World Laughter Day!
There’s is a great Facebook page we stumbled across too: facebook.com/Finding Humor After Breast Cancer.
Whatever your journey- healthy, wealthy or if you are unwell and have some mayhem happening in middle-aged- laughter can be your friend. I will leave you with a quote my cousin who had a double mastectomy shared with me—
You gotta look for the good in the bad, the happy in your sad, the gain in your pain, and what makes you grateful not hateful.
– Karen Salmansohn
About the author:
Jenene Delahoy, is an Australian corporate woman, a mother, sister and daughter. She is also a cancer survivor and founder of The Road For Hope. After prognosis, what happens later? A month later? 15 years later? What happens in middle age after the radiation? There are topics that many find taboo, there is the every pressing need for other people’s stories and what happens in a biopsy, so why are things so “dry down there?” after chemotherapy? This is where The Road For Hope idea came from. To answer these questions and provide hope, research and products to help combat the things no one talks about! The cancer journey is not a one size fits all path. The disease can impact us on every holistic level imaginable. Jenene’s mission is to provide tools and information to people as they prepare to walk through their cancer journey right through to many years later.
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