Comedy is defiance. It’s a snort of contempt in the face of fear and anxiety. And it’s the laughter that allows hope to creep back on the inhale. Will DurstWhen cancer anger, stress, or loneliness has you in its grip, it feels as if you are living in the moment. Right now, at this very moment, you are miserable.
If you are able to go deeper, however, you may find that a lot of your pain isn’t actually coming from what exists in the here and now. Instead, it’s a product of a continuous loop of memories of the past and worries about the future.
I don’t know anyone, myself included, who is able to completely shut down the painful memories and worries of cancer. But, I did discover a way that helps get me there once in a while.
One day, during an especially stressful period, my mind was racing with worry, emotional upheaval, fear about my upcoming surgery, anxiety about losing my breast, etc., etc., etc. The noise in my head was deafening. And suddenly, out of nowhere, this popped into my head:
I was shocked, but I just had to laugh. It was the theme song from SpongeBob SquarePants, a cartoon show I watched with my children. I grew up with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and love kids’ cartoons. They’re silly, irreverent and completely stupid, but that’s why they’re funny. Somewhere in my brain, I knew I needed relief from all of the stress I was under and SpongeBob came to the rescue!
If mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present, what is more mindful than laughter? Something strikes you as funny and you laugh. If you analyze it, it’s just not funny anymore. For that moment, the laughter and the joy of being in the moment are all you are about. You’re like a child again, able to enjoy the moment without quantifying or analyzing your reaction.
Whenever I am stuck in upset or worry, I look to laugh with friends or watch a funny movie. If I really need to pull out the big gun, I call my sister Amy, who always makes me laugh. Laughing is a relief, separating me for a moment from the worry. More than that, however, it also reminds me that life goes on and I will eventually work through whatever it is I’m upset about.
If you suffer from depression, no funny movie is going to help lift your spirits. But, if you are stressed and worried, give yourself a laughter break. Has laughter helped to relieve you of your stress and anxiety about cancer or, for that matter, life?
Survival > Existence,