Laughter is the best medicine

When was the last time you laughed so hard tears came to your eyes? Most likely, it’s been a while. After all, fighting cancer can be a grim business. What are you supposed to chuckle about? We’ll get to that. But first, consider this: Laughter is powerful medicine, as countless studies show. It can’t cure anything, of course.

But it can, studies show:

  • Boost immunity by triggering the body’s relaxation response.
  • Strengthen heart muscles and enhance blood flow.
  • Lower stress hormones and release endorphins. 
  • Reduce pain, stress, and anxiety.
  • Relax muscles.

The list goes on, but you don’t need a study to tell you the relief you feel after a good laugh. Nothing in your life has changed. Yet everything feels different. Lighter.

If you’re somber by nature and now find nothing to laugh about, try this: Fake it! Turns out that even fake laughter releases endorphins. And it’ll probably make you laugh. For everyone else, here are some easy ways to infuse more yuks into your life: Google jokes to tell at the dinner table and ask the rest of the family to do the same. Tell funny stories. Watch zany movies. Find comedians on YouTube. Listen to funny podcasts in the car. Also, check if a local yoga studio offers laughter yoga. (That’s a real thing.) Fifty minutes of nothing but chuckles and guffaws and no sweaty yoga clothes. But perhaps the most important gift is this: Laughing helps you rediscover your zest for life. Most things about cancer are hard. Laughing is easy.