Laughter is the last thing you want to lose when you are facing a chronic illness, according to health experts who remind us that it has important therapeutic benefits.
Chronic laughter trumps chronic pain, according to researchers Suzanne M. Skevington and Alison White, who discovered that the most disabled arthritis patients found laughter to be a highly effective coping strategy.
It’s okay not be okay, according to Candace H. whose post-worthy statement: “When you meet a new doctor and they say, ‘So tell me about your medical history.’ I reply with, ‘How much time do you have?’” has generated thousands of shares across social media platforms.
Chronic illnesses are like potato chips, you can’t have just one
“I was diagnosed with four different illnesses… in alphabetical order,” kids Anna H., whose humorous posts have helped countless others facing similar challenges.
Christa Marie (@heyChristaMarie) agrees. Despite her ‘cocktail’ of conditions, Christa Maria choses laughter over pain, as frequently as she can, which helps her cope with her pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) and associated mental health conditions.
“Joking around (can) risk misunderstanding, dismissal, or exclusion,” says Christa Maria. “But it gives me enjoyment, smiles, laughter, and so much more. That in and of itself is important to me.”
Christa Maria and others like her, have it right, according to the Mayo Clinic, which reports that laughter has both short- and long-term health benefits.
Chief among them are its ability to strengthen the immune system and provide overall pain relief.
It also soothes muscle tension and cools down our body’s stress response, and can even drive down blood pressure, according to the experts at Mayo.
Researchers at University of Michigan agree, reminding us that caregivers at high risk of becoming sick themselves need to laugh too.
Sharing is caring, according to material published on their site, which advocates that caregivers and those they care for laugh frequently and well together.
Bottom line, humor heals.
“I don’t feel well most of the time, so why would I want to make it worse by being miserable during the good times,” says Kate Lawrence (@kate-lawrence-3)
Amen to that.