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This column will hereafter be a permanent feature of this web site, although its content will change monthly. It is dedicated to all individuals (and their loved ones) who are now battling cancer, and to Survivors whose cancer is in remission. Ill occasionally leave you with a joke. This will usually be related to cancer, or some other source of stress in our lives. If youve heard a joke along these lines that you love, and would like to see it made available to everyone in this column, please send it to me at HaHaRemedy@viconet.com.
Humor Your Tumor-Paul McGhee, PhD
A managed care consultant dies and goes to Heaven. Frankly, he cant believe his good fortune in being there, given the life he has led. But St. Peter checks the records and says, Theres no mistake, youre supposed to be here. See, it says right here that you are scheduled for Heaven...and youre authorized for three days.--There may be a lot to laugh about in the health care system these days, but as a patient, humor is probably be the last thing on your mind. Getting a frightening diagnosis is stressful-emotionally as well as physiologically. However, humor could be just the thing you need to get you through this period.-Of course, theres nothing funny about the fact that one has cancer. But learning to find the light side of things that happen as a result of your cancer gives you a powerful tool to help you cope on a day-to-day basis. When you can poke fun at your stressors, you remove some of their emotional power over you. Humor helps you sustain an upbeat, optimistic frame of mind, even on the bad days. This more positive emotional state helps give you the resilience you need to cope with the next problem thrown your way. Your sense of humor also helps bring back some joy into your life.-Theres no evidence that humor and laughter add years to your life, but they certainly add life to your years. As a professional speaker, I have the opportunity to spend time with cancer patients across the country. After virtually every program, someone comes up to me and says, You know, what you said is so true. If it hadnt been for my sense of humor, I would never have gotten through the treatments, let alone the disease. They note that finding a light side of things was essential to maintaining hope and determination to fight the disease.-Humor provides a sense of control over the stress that goes along with battling cancer by giving you more control over your daily mood. A good belly laugh also boosts your energy level on the days when you dont want to even get out of bed. This is especially important, since most patients experience fatigue as a result of their cancer treatment. Finally, humor and laughter provide a means of letting go of the anger and anxiety.-Dr. Bernie Siegel has been reminding us for years that emotional factors can play an important role in battling disease, and a growing body of evidence from the new field of medical research called psychoneuroimmunology confirms this view. By sustaining a more positive mood, and reducing the amount of time spent in a state of anger, anxiety, or depression, you are playing an active role in mobilizing your bodys own health and healing resources. Your emotional state begins working for your health, rather than against it. Laughter is one of the most powerful and rapid means you have of replacing a negative with a positive mood.-But if you feel that your humor skills are weak to nonexistent, dont despair. Being able to laugh during times of stress is an acquired skill-and its not too late for you to learn it. Ive developed an 8-step program to help even the most humor-impaired learn to laugh more. It is detailed in my book, Health, Healing, and the Amuse System; Humor as Survival Training. Ill offer guidelines from this book to help you boost your humor skills in the months ahead.-Next month, this column will discuss the latest research on how humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, including those components of the immune system whose role is to seek out and destroy tumor cells.
Click here to link to Dr. McGhee's web site at www.LaughterRemedy.com.