“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.” ~Peter Marshall
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to be sure to get a post up about the benefits of laughter yoga for cancer patients and those that love them – not just breast cancer patients, but for cancer patients of all kinds.
Cancer is no laughing matter, and its implications and effects on those that it besieges and their loved ones is downright devastating. Cancer can cause the lives of those it affects and their friends and families to become completely consumed by negative feelings, grief, medical appointments, medications, treatment plans, side effects of such treatments, and the emotional and physical toll that all of those things take. This leads many to believe that there is no room for laughter in the realm of cancer. However, studies have shown that quite the opposite is true.
Now, let me be clear – I am not saying that laughter cures cancer, but I am saying that it has beneficial effects for cancer patients, their loved ones, and anyone affected by their own or someone else’s cancer diagnosis. Laughter yoga can serve as an excellent adjunct therapy to more conventional forms of treatment and therapy. Studies, several of which I’ve linked at the end of this post, have shown that laughter can help those afflicted by cancer in the following ways:
- Laughter can improve one’s mental and emotional state and well-being. This can help cancer patients to better deal with their diagnosis and all that it entails in a more positive and confident manner.
- Laughter has been shown to increase self-esteem in cancer patients, which is extremely important in order to help keep depressive symptoms that can often accompany cancer at bay. Furthermore, increased self-esteem helps cancer patients to better deal with the natural changes that their bodies may go through due to cancer and its various treatments, such as weight loss, hair loss, surgery scars, loss of body parts, rashes, etc.
- Laughter can help to improve certain aspects of quality of life for cancer patients and cancer survivors, such as physical health, mental health, recreation, social well-being, and feelings of connection to others. This can serve as an invaluable resource when one feels as though their life has just been turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis.
- Laughter yoga is gentle with negligible negative side effects. This is greatly advantageous for cancer patients as they are commonly fatigued and weak while undergoing cancer treatments. Laughter yoga provides a means of some gentle exercise, and activity can help patients to have a slight increase in energy and to feel more engaged with the world around them.
- Laughter has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress in cancer patients in as little as one session of laughter yoga. As we’ve discussed, a cancer diagnosis brings on all sorts of new stresses to one’s life, and laughter can be a useful tool in decreasing the impact of those stresses and help patients to better cope with all of the changes they are experiencing in life – physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.
- Laughter yoga has been scientifically proven to improve one’s immune system, and there have been several studies on its effects on the immunity of cancer patients. Again, laughter cannot cure cancer, but the immune system is a key player when one is walking through any form of cancer, so improving one’s immunity is terrifically favorable as patients find their way back to health and some sense of normalcy. Cancer patients often have low immunity that can be exacerbated by various treatments, such as chemotherapy. Laughter has been shown to significantly improve these immunity levels in cancer patients and to result in vast immunological improvement overall.
- Laughter yoga is a form of simulated laughter in which a person laughs for the sake of laughing, not for a comical reason. A cancer diagnosis and all that it entails can leave a person with very little to make them feel like laughing. Thus, laughter yoga provides an effective way of bringing laughter and its benefits into patients’ lives without the need of something humorous to make them laugh.
All of these things have been scientifically researched through multiple studies on the effects of laughter on cancer patients. Cancer is a low blow to anyone that it impacts, and though it doesn’t give one any reasons to smile and laugh, we can use laughter to help in the fight against it and its consequences.
If you or someone you know has been affected by cancer, please accept the love and care that I am sending your way. As someone who has had multiple people in her life come down with this unfair disease, I can understand the emotional toll that it takes not only on its sufferers, but also on those that dearly love those individuals. Whether you are a cancer patient yourself or a supporter of one, I considerately invite you to incorporate laughter into your healing regimen. My biggest desire and most sincere wish is that it can bring you some joy and hope in the midst of these challenges.
To learn more about laughter yoga and all of its benefits, continue to follow along with my blog. To give a session a try, please visit my videos page or YouTube channel for both full laughter yoga sessions and quick pick me ups that you can follow along with. Sending love and laughter to all of you!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. The information presented on this site is for educational purposes only. One should always consult with their doctor or medical professional before taking on any sort of new exercise program.