Keeping your sense of humor during cancer treatment

March 06, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

Laughter has always been the best medicine, but maintaining a sense of humor can be a real challenge when you’re going through cancer treatment.

It’s not always easy dealing with the different emotions that come with cancer and its treatment. Working through your feelings — and finding ways to laugh a little — can help reduce your stress level and improve your mental health.

Cancer is no laughing matter, but humor therapy can help you feel better by making you less stressed, worried or anxious. Humor therapy includes laughter exercises and findings ways to laugh from comedy movies, jokes and games.

The act of laughing can induce physical changes in your body that provide health benefits. It stimulates circulation and relieves tension in the muscles. It can also increase endorphins released by your brain, which serve as natural painkillers. Even if it starts out fake, the more you laugh, the more real it becomes.

Humor therapy can help improve your outlook and well-being so treatment is more tolerable. Humor therapy can help to:

  • Boost mood
  • Encourage relaxation
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve quality of life

Here are some ways to incorporate more laughter in your life:

  • Find something you enjoy doing that makes you laugh — watch funny movies or videos, look at funny photos, read comic strips or jokes, or take part in your favorite fun activity.
  • Practice positivity by challenging the negative thoughts in your mind. Try writing down three things you are thankful for each day. Read our blog: Be grateful, your health will thank you.
  • Find a way to manage your stress. Yoga can help boost your mood, strength your body and improve your quality of life. Creative arts therapy can also reduce stress and help you find ways to express yourself.
  • Spend time with a funny friend. Take a break from cancer and get together with a friend who makes you laugh.

During treatment, it’s important to surround yourself with a solid support system. You can find strength by sharing your thoughts and feelings in a support group with others who are going through a similar experience.

Some people going through treatment put on a happy face, even if they don’t feel that way. If you are struggling with anxiety, fear or depression, talk to your cancer care team. Your care team can help you find ways to cope with cancer so you can feel better overall.

Learn more about cancer support services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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