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6 Ways Laughter Can Be Healing for People With Chronic Illness

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Constantly coping with pain, hiding its intensity from others and trying to maintain hope despite so many fears can make living with pain a highly stressful and tricky business.

Add a seemingly endless barrage of symptoms and a brain clogged with chronic pain fog (it’s a wonder we manage at all), and it quickly becomes clear that anything that helps us see the lighter side of life can be essential.

Whatever the cause of your pain, I think the old saying is a true one: Laughter is powerful medicine and having a good chuckle really can help you cope with chronic illness and can even help reduce pain. Aside from the accompanying joy and relaxation, laughter also releases those happy endorphins that can be even more vital for chronic pain patients.

Humor helps create distance from our everyday challenges. There may be many things we long to change, but for now, a good laugh may be just the thing to lift us from those darker places, distract us from the incessant pain and help our overall well-being.

Here are some ways laughter can help heal:

  1. It can help us relax and reduces stress.
  2. It can reduce sadness and strengthen resilience.
  3. It’s a distraction from pain.
  4. It can help us be more compassionate, take ourselves less seriously and strengthen our bonds with others.
  5. It can stimulate the body and brain in a manner similar to exercise.
  6. It may help with sleep by releasing the sleep hormone melatonin.

Remember, spoonies, life is serious enough on its own, and the first person to find humor in a difficult situation wins. Let me know how you get your laughs.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s the hardest thing you deal with as someone with a chronic illness, and how do you face this? What advice and words of support would you offer someone facing the same thing? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: March 9, 2016
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