What makes you laugh? I’m talking about laugh-out-loud, tears-in-the-eyes with intermittent giggles lasting for hours. That kind of laughter. Laughter therapy will show you how to giggle your way to health.
In 2012, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I searched for the cause and the cure. That’s when I found laughter therapy.
In 1979, Norman Cousins published Anatomy of an Illness. It told the story of his victory over a debilitating condition through the use of vitamins and regularly watching movies, comedy to be exact. What he claimed back then, is now becoming part of many cancer-care routines.
A patient battling cancer, or any other serious ailment, may not feel like laughing but they probably don’t feel like taking medications either. Yet, research shows a good belly laugh reduces pain, decrease stress hormones and boosts the immune system. When we laugh, we take in more oxygen, relax our muscles and balance our blood pressures.
Who makes you laugh the hardest and the longest? Spend time with that person as often as you can. What brings cheerfulness to your heart? Engage in that laugh-inspiring activity as much as you can.
Make laughter a way of life
You don’t have to have cancer to enjoy the healing effects of humor. My youngest grandson, who has the sweetest smile and calmest disposition, brings laughter just trying to put on his super-hero face. My middle granddaughters cheer my heart when they twirl in the living room to the magnificence of the Nutcracker. And my older grandchildren inspire me to remain hopeful.
We’ll always have aches and pains, bills to pay, and a car that needs maintenance. There’s also plenty to sap our strength and expose us to illness. But when our grandson or daughter walks up with their latest corny joke, we can choose to be cheered and enjoy the healing power of laughter.