“Laughter is the best medicine … unless you have diarrhea.”
April is National Humor Month, although we would subscribe to the idea that EVERY month should be humor month. LOL <smiley face> We’ve got the science behind the concept, and a few bad jokes for good measure.
Did you see the movie “Patch Adams” starring Robin Williams? It’s the true story of an American physician, comedian, social activist, clown, and author. Dr. Hunter Doherty “Patch” Adams founded the Gesundheit! Institute in 1971. Each year he organizes a group of volunteers from around the world to travel to various countries where they dress as clowns in an effort to bring humor to orphans, patients, and other people.
According to Dr. Adams and many others, there is science behind the use of humor to treat illness.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that, “Although the evidence (detailed below) demonstrating laughter’s benefits could be stronger, virtually all studies of laughter and health indicate positive results. Similarly, there are almost no negative side effects or undesirable ramifications associated with laughter as an intervention. This is a case in which the appropriate logic might be more akin to the legal perspective of “innocent until proven guilty.” “Nurse,” an anxious mother whimpers, “can you please tell me how my son is? He’s the one who swallowed the quarters.” “No change yet,” the nurse replies.
Laughter and humor are not beneficial for everyone, but since there are no negative side effects, humor
and laughter should be used to help reduce stress and pain and to improve healing. In other words, conventional wisdom will assume that it works until proven otherwise.
“A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.”
HUMOR IF YOU ARE ILL OR INJURED
Believe it or not, there are entire organizations out there, dedicated to making you laugh. One of them is the Comedy Cures Foundation. They have laugh luncheons for people who are battling cancer or other debilitating diseases. They also have informational sessions for caregivers that teaches people what they need to know about humor and health.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR FINDING HUMOR
IF YOU ARE ILL OR INJURED
- Rent a children’s movie and watch it with a preschooler (“Happy Feet” or “Finding Nemo” gain a new life)
- Tune in to comedy TV – either the new version (Comedy Central), or the oldies but goodies (Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Three Stooges)
- Visit a comedy club if you’re well enough to get up and out.
- Subscribe to a chronic illness humor feed for frequent humor about and for people just like you
- Try laughing yoga. This works best with others. Lay on the ground and start laughing – in the beginning it will be “fake” laughing but soon it starts to become real. Laughter is contagious! Laugh for 15 minutes.
- Stroll through sickness/illness humor on Pinterest
- Look for funny videos on YouTube
“My doctor took one look at my gut and refused to believe that I work out. So I listed the exercises I do every day: jump to conclusions, climb the walls, drag my heels, push my luck, make mountains out of molehills, bend over backward, run around in circles, put my foot in my mouth, go over the edge and beat around the bush.”
HUMOR IF SOMEONE ELSE IS ILL OR INJURED
Flowers are lovely when a friend is in the hospital or sick at home, but bring your friend some laughs and you’ll be part of the medicine!
Here are a few ideas:
- Bring some whoopee cushions for your friend and the nurse
- Bring a funny movie
- Hire a local comedian to perform for an hour
- Take a trip down memory lane – bring some old photos of fun times and relive the experience
- Play a game. Something easy and fun – like Scattergories, Qwirkle or Jenga
- Color together with an adult coloring book
Whatever you do – don’t tell them to “stay positive” (they are already trying) or that “it will get better” (it might not).
Colonoscopies are important medical procedures that have saved lives. And yet they’re as popular as, well, a colonoscopy. Here are comments reported to have been made by patients to physicians during their procedures.
“Now I know how a Muppet feels!”
“Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?”
“Any sign of the trapped miners, chief?”
HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS TO SAY, THAT MIGHT NOT MAKE A PERSON LAUGH, BUT WILL SURELY MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER!
- I don’t know what to say, but I care about you.
- Do you just need to vent? I’m all ears!
- I really admire how you are handling this. I know it’s difficult.
- I’m bringing dinner for you on Thursday. Do you want lasagna or chicken?
- I can’t sit still. Got any laundry I can fold?
- I have Monday free if you need me to run some errands or take you somewhere?
- Do you want me to come over while you wait for test results?
- You are amazing.