Augusta University

Laughter’s healing power: It really is the best medicine

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 3.29.27 PM (1)“A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.”

Good advice from comedian Groucho Marx. Being able to appreciate humor even during pain, chronic illness or disease not only benefits your mood, but just might be good for your health too.

According to the American Cancer Society, laughter can promote pain relief, encourage relaxation, reduce stress, boost attitude and stimulate the circulatory system during cancer treatments.

So laugh on: Here are five easy tips to add more smiles to your life:

  1. Look for humor even in a tough situation. There are genuinely sad situations that aren’t laughing matters, but many have an ironic or ludicrous side. Next time you feel stress rising, take a minute to think about the irony and allow yourself to relax and laugh over the things you cannot control.
  2. Remind yourself of funny moments from the past. Perhaps a friend told you a great joke, your kids did something amusing or you watched a funny movie that had you in stitches. Call on these moments and relive them to relieve sadness or anger.
  3. Surround yourself with fun people who laugh a lot. Laugher is contagious, so make a point to seek out positive people who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves or find humor in life’s situations.
  4. Get a pet. Animals are great for boosting happiness and encouraging laughter because they love to play and they do amusing things without even realizing it.
  5. Join a group that’s built for laughs. Start a “funny movie night” with friends or a “funny book” club.

Staying active and involved is another way to add humor and enjoyment to your life. Visit gru.edu/cancer/community to get started.

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Eric Johnson
Written by
Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson is managing editor of news & information at Augusta University. Contact him with questions or ideas for Jagwire at erijohnson@augusta.edu.

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Eric Johnson Written by Eric Johnson

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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