After receiving the worst news of my life, that I had stage 4 aggressive breast cancer, many immunosuppressive hormones were going off in my body. What that surgeon told me was so unbelievable, that I actually asked to see the MRI. When he flashed it up on a larger-than-life screen, I was horrified. It looked like a tornado had invaded my body. Providentially, it was that afternoon we were scheduled to fly to Chicago for a second opinion. We were both in shock when we arrived at O’Hare Airport. Cancer Treatment Centers of America was to have a driver there to meet us. As we came down the escalator, I immediately saw my driver and his sign.
As he was securing our luggage, a young man attempted to join us saying, “I’m supposed to go with you.” The driver immediately called CTCA to see if he was to pick anyone else up. “Just the Brants,” he was told. But the young man insisted that he was to go with us. I then asked him,” Do you know where we are going?’ “We’re going to the cancer center!”
In a flash, he disappeared. As we started walking towards our car, I began to chuckle. “Who wants to go to the cancer center—I don’t. “Wish I did not have to!” My husband then responded with an echoed laughter, “I wish I didn’t have to go to the cancer center with my wife!” By the time we got in the car, the driver joined in our laughter saying, “And I wish I didn’t have to drive cancer patients to the cancer center! I wish there was no cancer.”
It was a 45-minute drive to the cancer center and this incident prompted us to laugh on and off most of the way. We kept saying “Who wants to go to the cancer center?”
Laughter is good for the soul, and we find it in the strangest places—yes, even in the middle of a cancer journey. It may seem strange to you that anyone would find anything funny in the cancer journey, but laughter is a part of the journey. I felt that God had placed that young man in our path, just to allow us to release our stress and anxiety—and relieve it did.
Today, we’re going to look at 6 reasons laughter is the best medicine and promotes healing in our bodies.
- Laughter reduces stress and cortisol levels. A meta-analysis of many studies showed laughter is linked to reduced cortisol levels thus reducing the harmful effects of stress. This is just what I needed after hearing such terrifying results. By the time we arrived at the cancer center, our stress was greatly relieved.
2 Laughter reduces heart disease risk. A recent study in Brazil found that “chuckling expands heart tissue and promotes the flow of oxygen in the body.” This reduces heart Laughter was also shown to improve the health of those who already had heart disease. The author of this study said, “Our study found that laughter therapy increased the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system.”
- Laughter boosts the immune system. A study at Loma Linda Medical University found that just one hour of watching a humorous video increases the activity of a person’s natural killer cells, B cells. T cells, and immunoglobins with effects lasting up to 12 hours!
- Laughter increases longevity. According to a 15-year study on the link between a sense of humor and longevity involving over 50,000 men and women, Norwegian researchers discovered that laughter actually helps a person to live longer! The findings showed that women with a strong sense of humor have a 48 percent lower risk of death from all causes including a 73 percent lower risk of death from heart disease. Men with a strong sense of humor have a 74 percent lower risk of death from infection.
- Laughter can decrease cancer cells. Laughter can increase the number of lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and B and T cells which all help to prevent and fight cancer.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins. Charlie Chaplin, the greatest of all comics said, “Laughter is a tonic and relief for pain.” Laughter causes your brain to release a flow of endorphins, which supercharges your immune system and slows down cancer. According to Dr. Mike Adams, “When you laugh, you generate around $10,000 worth of healing biochemicals.” These endorphins also help you to feel good.
A sense of humor helped my husband and me to survive the cancer journey, My cancer center knew this and even provided laughter therapy for their patients. I didn’t need it as laughter comes naturally to me. The research is clear that positive emotions boost the immune system and negative emotions suppress it. There’s no doubt in my mind that God Himself has a sense of humor and we’re allowed to have one, too.
Job 8:21 says “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”
Is it okay to have a sense of humor in any health journey—I believe it’s the best thing you can do. Just be careful about laughter after a surgery with many stitches!
Have you ever experienced laughter in the middle of a crisis or health journey?
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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 recently received the Christian Authors Network’s (CAN) Gold Award for Excellence in Marketing for reaching 62.5 million people with a message of cancer prevention and survival. It was written with commentary from an oncologist and was featured on CBN’s Healthy Living Show, Atlanta Live, and CTN’s Homekeepers along with over 75 media outlets. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.