Joy, Passion, and Bliss—Key Ingredients to a Healthy Life

What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”

— Yiddish Proverb

Laughter is the best medicine.”

— Marshall P. Wilder

Understandably, cancer conjures up fear in most people. The problem is that the fear can constrict us and make us less able to combat the disease, or prevent it in the first place. In fact, the opposite emotion—joy—has been shown to carry tremendous health and disease-fighting benefits. The Mayo Clinic, the University of Maryland, and many other hospitals and universities have studied the positive impact of joy and laughter on our health. Not only have they proven joy and laughter to be beneficial in the short-term, but in the long-term, as well.

To determine how much joy affects longevity, researchers investigated a group of nuns who lived in the same convent. This meant they had many basics in common—food, air, lifestyle, medical care. Ninety percent of the most joyful nuns—those who described their lives as “very happy”—were still alive at age 84, compared to only 34 percent of the least joyful nuns. In general, the joyful nuns were found to live 7.5 years longer than their unhappy counterparts. Other studies show that happy people live up to 10 years longer than unhappy people.

A shift to joy can have a profound impact on our health and well-being.

Joy’s cousin, laughter, has been shown to increase the cells that are allies against tumors and viruses, to increase blood flow, activate endorphins, and lower blood sugar—all helpful in combatting cancer. Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterward. The list of benefits goes on.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself how you’re supposed to laugh and be joyful in the face of cancer. You might want to start by making a list. What do you love to do? What have you always wanted to do that you haven’t done? Make joy and laughter a priority. You might even consider starting a happiness project!

For Further Exploration:

Four Fabulous Health Benefits of Laughter

The 10 Commandments of True Happiness: A Recipe for Creating More Joy and Peace in Your Life

Back to Stages of Treatment–Stage Two


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