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Vitiligo is No Laughing Matter or is it?

Image Courtesy: Yvesmark Chery's Instagram Account

In the context of vitiligo, humor and joking can still be seen as socially unacceptable. Yet people with vitiligo can find relief in making light of their rapidly changing appearance. I have encountered some vitiligans who were able to find the humor in strange stares and annoying questions. They say it not only helped them feel good, but it had a positive effect on their treatment plan as well.

Here, we are neither suggesting one can simply laugh vitiligo away, nor that laughter is the only healing emotion. But, we cannot deny the biochemical changes we undergo during laughter. They are almost exactly the opposite of what happens to a body when it’s under distress. And, we know what stress can do to our vitiligo and mental well being. 

Finding humor in a vitiligo diagnosis

Humor can be used as a way to take control of life’s obstacles. Then, why should dealing with vitiligo diagnosis be any different? With vitiligo comes emotional distress. Those with newly diagnosed may have difficulty being with other people who have widespread vitiligo. 

Today, I don’t feel ashamed to reveal that I have been in these distressing situations myself. Over time, I have discovered that trying to find humor in awkward situations helps to humanize vitiligo, to remind me that it’s fairly common and less worrisome skin disorder.

The science behind laughter 

While vitiligo isn’t funny, when you deal with it with laughter and humor, it might be the best medicine to get you through difficult times. I am not just saying it. There is simple science behind it too. A small but growing number of physicians and scientists in North America believe that laughter not only makes people feel good, but it may also help them get better.

The study of humor in healing initiated in the 1960s. From there on, many studies have been published on the physiological processes that occur during laughter. At its most basic level, laughter is a good exercise – an aerobic workout. With a smile, you get some muscular behavior. And, when you go all the way up to the belly laugh, you work your heart out. Laughter is also strangely beneficial to the respiratory system. It dips down into your lungs and just cleans them out.

This is not it; many research studies suggest that laughter may offer physical benefits, including muscle relaxation all through the body, the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers), improved digestion and better mental function for greater attentiveness, memory, and creativity.

Laughter Therapy for Vitiligo 

Finding the laughter and a sense of humor can help you overcome stress and regulate your immune system, something that can help you stop the progression of vitiligo. Besides, people with vitiligo often struggle with bad self-image and overwhelming anxiety. But if you can laugh about it, then you’re in the driver’s seat. When you laugh, you take back your power and control. It’ your way of saying, “Vitiligo will not crush me”.

Here a few ways to get your laugh on: 

  • Looking for the humor in every situation. 
  • Getting to know your sense of humor and making time to enjoy it.
  • Watching a funny movie, if possible a live comedy.
  • Learning to tell a variety of jokes.
  • Sharing time with people who have a sense of humor.

Final Thoughts 

Vitiligo is not something to laugh about. But, if people with vitiligo can laugh and make others laugh, can’t they? I recommend you to diagnose your funny bone and learn to use humor effectively in your daily interactions. This way, people will remember you as a funny guy/girl, not as someone who has white spots.

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