Everyone likes a good laugh. Laughter causes physiological changes in our bodies and makes us feel good. It can be used as a coping strategy and to help us diffuse anger. For example, have you ever tried to be angry at someone but were too busy laughing at them? It seems impossible to be mad and laughing at the same time.
Laughing can affect your overall health psychologically and physiologically. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter has both short and long term benefits. Some short term benefits are tension relief, lowered stress response, increased blood circulation, and endorphin release. Long term benefits can be positive mood increases, improved immune system functioning, and pain relief.
Lets face it. We have all been there. As a bedside nurse there are many tense critical situations that we are subjected to on the job. One way healthcare team members may choose to cope with these situations in high stress areas such as critical care is to use laughter to diffuse a situation (never in front of a patient or their family!). Or they use it to cope with some of the tragic situations often encountered when caring for people. Also, it can be used as part of a burnout prevention strategy for nurses.
Nurses in the workplace are not the only ones who can utilize laughter for stress reduction. Nursing students are also under a lot of stress! Nursing school can be extremely task busy and can dominate student’s lives. Despite the pressure, students should take time for their own self care and laugh a little.
Did you have a bad day at work? Nursing school wearing you down? Take time to laugh after a long day at work or school. If you work night shift, try watching a silly TV show before going to bed in the morning. Or, if you are a day shift nurse, ham it up with your family or friends in the evening after work.
How about a way to laugh and de-stress during your work day? Social media is a great resource for a good time. Specifically, nurse humor can diffuse some of the tension that comes with the nursing territory. Try browsing Pinterest Boards from some of our authors while you’re on lunch and at break times. (Don’t use your your work computer. Use your personal smart phone on your breaks to browse social media. You won’t be laughing at work if you lose your job!)
Let the fun and laughter begin….
Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN of TheNursingSite.com has been a nurse for over 35 years; spending almost all of those years in home health and hospice. Today she works part time in hospice as a Quality Assurance nurse. Kathy is also an award-winning author of five books (The Everything New Nurse Book, Second Edition) and blogger. Patient education has always been her passion. To extend that passion, Kathy loves working with nurses to help them be the best nurse possible and empower their patients to achieve their goals and outcomes.
Visit Kathy’s Nurse Humor Board.
Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN, also known as The Nerdy Nurse, is a Clinical Informatics Specialist practicing in Georgia. In her day job she gets to do what she loves every day: Combine technology and healthcare to improve patient outcomes. She joined NurseJournal.org to help connect with other nurses in Informatics and educate those considering the field for the first time.
Click on Brittney’s Nurse Humor Pinterest board
*Photo courtesy of /FreeDigitalPhotos net