There isn't much to laugh at when it comes to cancer and the same can be said about so many other painful, life threatening and on-going difficult curve balls that life throws our way. One of my teachers, however, Dr. Itami who founded Meaningful Life Therapy in Japan, uses laughter as part of his healing prescription for cancer patients.
Humour therapy is built into his unique approach to treating cancer patients along with the usual surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Patients are encouraged to find something funny about their current situation everyday so they will have a funny story to share with others when they meet in a group setting once a week.
I co-facilitate an MLT program at Wellspring Calgary with my friend and colleague John Stephure. Humour therapy is how we begin each session and before my diagnosis with cancer I was certainly not the star of funny stories. Since my diagnosis I have practically become a stand-up comic as I look for and find humour everywhere.
I have a friend that as soon as I hear her voice we both burst out laughing. A stranger may think we are losing it and in a way we are. Losing ourselves in the ironies and cosmic jokes of life itself and our own funny selves in particular. When I hang up the phone I can feel my heart and immune system saying YES. You just gave me exactly what I need.
There has never been a time in my life when daily doses of laughter have been more efficacious. All of us have daily trials large and small so I invite you to join me in actively seeking out gentle joy and humour so that we laugh more often both for the fun of it and the health of it. Trudy
Practice wise medicine and try to have a good laugh at least three times a day. Edward Hays