Living with cancer blog

Using humor to help the healing

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. October 23, 2010

Humor can heal the soul, it's true.

Many of you writing on the blog are using humor to deal with the reality of cancer. It seems like it's worth talking about, because research has shown that humor and laughter can reduce stress, control pain, improve our immune system and promote healing.

When you laugh, it increases oxygen flow and circulation, lowers blood pressure and just makes you feel better. Think back to the last time you had a good laugh; how did you feel? Free from stress, happy, light-hearted and relaxed are a few feelings that come to mind. Laughter can give you a sense of release of emotions and can be a great distraction from a situation that is heavy and challenging.

Here's a list of ways to incorporate moments of humor into daily life. See what you think. And, please feel free to add to this list.

  • Watch a funny movie and laugh out loud.
  • Laugh with friends — go for coffee together, talk a walk, go window shopping.
  • Take time to read the comic section of the paper every day.
  • Play games such as Pictionary, Bingo, Charades, Bowling ... anything that puts you in a situation of humor and fun.

Having cancer isn't funny; it's a serious and life-changing event. However, it might be worth a try to incorporate a little humor into your daily life. If you're already doing this, please write in and tell your story. We would love to hear from you.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Oct. 23, 2010