Humor and healing: Laughter for the body and soul

Mental health experts say finding humor during a health crisis is a way to cope

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – There are very few phrases more gut wrenching than “You have cancer.” The fear of the unknown can leave you reeling. What treatment will I need? Will I have side effects? Will I survive? Mental health experts say for some, finding humor during a health crisis is one important way to cope.

Two years ago, Diana Bosse went to the ER with intense abdominal pain and was blindsided by the doctor’s diagnosis, diffuse large b-cell lymphoma.

“I mean, you think cancer, you think the worst, you think chemo, you think, you know, I’m going to be so sick. Then I thought I can’t keep doing this. I cannot stay in this black hole,” Bosse said.

Instead, Diana began posting about her cancer journey on social media.

“Humor was my coping mechanism,” Bosse said.

Board-certified psychologist Shelley Johns works extensively with cancer patients. She says a good, heartfelt laugh does wonders for the soul and the body.

“You take in more oxygen, rich air, it helps get your cardiovascular system moving,” Johns, a clinical health psychologist at the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis said.

Johns recommends her patients stock up on mood-boosting movies, read a funny book, or pull out your childhood comic book collection. Finally, surround yourself with likeminded friends. For Diana it was long-time friend and part-time cartoonist Steve Wallace. Steve read Diana’s social media posts daily and began to sketch her exploits.

“I knew it was her coping mechanism and I knew I would probably do the same thing,” Wallace said.

Steve’s illustrations gave Diana the push she needed to fulfill a lifelong goal, turning her Facebook posts into a book.

“So, I thought ‘If I don’t do something now, who knows if I’ll have another chance,’” Bosse said.

Diana has been cancer-free since August of 2019. She is donating five percent of the proceeds of her book to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and another five percent to the Alzheimer’s Association, where she works. You can order on Diana’s website, Dianabosse.com.