Laughter is good for the soul. We often find it in the strangest places in the middle of a crisis. It may sound strange to you that cancer patients or any patient would find anything funny about their situation. But laughter is and can be a much needed relief in a difficult journey. Not only is it an emotional release, but it can also be a powerful medicine for our bodies even in the midst of a crisis.
After my second surgery, I’d flown home with over 100 stitches. Believe it or not, my insurance company sent a nurse from Dallas, Texas to be my guide through the cancer journey. Nancy had flown up to meet me after my surgery. I greeted her at my door with this question, “Nancy, it’s great to personally meet you, but do you have a gun in that briefcase?”
Nancy was speechless. She’d never had a patient like me. She responded, “Why no, why would I need a gun?”
“I was calculating what my cancer was going to cost my insurance company. I’m your newest million-dollar patient. I just figured I was worth more dead than alive!” I said with a chuckle and a smile.
Her puzzled look transformed into a smile. We shared a moment of laughter together. “Keep it up,” she said. “Humor is one tool to get through this journey.” Needless to say, we became good friends.
My sense of humor increased during the roller coaster ride of cancer. I discovered that laughter is okay and much needed to make it through to the end. In fact, laughter acts as a medicine in the following ways:
It enhances the immune system. A study at Loma Linda University found that one hour of watching a humorous video increases a person’s natural killer cells, B cells, T cells, and immunoglobulins for up to 12 hours!
It increases longevity. Yes, laughter actually helps you to live longer. A Norwegian study involving more than 50,000 men and women showed that women with a strong sense of humor have a 48 percent lower risk of dying from all causes. Mirthful men have a 74 percent lower risk of death from infection.
It releases a wealth of healing biochemicals. According to Dr. Mike Adams, “For every minute of laughter, you produce about $10,000 of healing body chemicals.”
It reduces stress, balances blood pressure and promotes relaxation. We usually depend on medications to balance reduces stress, lower blood pressure and relax our body, but the chemicals produced when we laugh can also have a positive impact on these three things.
I believe our Lord has a sense of humor and He expects us to have one, too. In Job 8:21 it says, “He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” Today, it is well known that laughter and other positive moods can enhance the immune system. It is the best medicine. It helped my husband and I to make it through the cancer journey. Can you laugh cancer away? No, but you can make your prognosis better.
With a ha-ha-ha, and a ho-ho-ho, and a couple of tra-la-las, Dorothy and her friends laughed the day away at the end of a long and arduous journey. We should all make use of the benefits of laughter as we journey through the difficulties of this life.
Did you ever laugh so hard that you nearly cried? When did laughter help you get through a difficult journey?
For Your Health,
Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs, and Second Place in both Selah Awards for Memoirs and Director’s Choice Award for Nonfiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It was written with commentary from an oncologist and was featured on CBN’s Healthy Living Show, Atlanta Live, and CTN’s Homekeepers. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.