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24 Reasons Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine for Doctors

You’d be hard pressed to find anything that feels better than a good ole fashioned laugh. That’s because a simple ha ha ha isn’t so simple after at all. From physiological changes to psychological changes, a hearty chuckle can impact our health in some really significant ways.

Hippocrates knew it. Aristotle knew it. Patch Adams knew it…

Laughter therapy relieves stress and helps cure illness.

And it doesn’t require a rainbow wig or size 28 shoes. Although, hey—if that’s your thing, more power to you. The point is, if you’re not sharing in a laugh with your patients, you’re leaving something pretty huge on the table. It’s called well-being.

And it’s not just your patients who need a laugh. You need it too!

Here are 24 reasons to incorporate more laughter into your practice of healthcare. TODAY.

  1. According to the American Heart Association, laughter promotes cardiovascular health by reducing artery inflammation and increasing HDL.
  2. A study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor.
  3. Laughter can help lessen depression and anxiety—it elevates mood and can boost self-esteem.
  4. Laughter helps people judge their problems objectively, and improves problem-solving ability by increasing insight.
  5. Humor is a way to break through the tension barrier between colleagues—and in the exam room. Laughter is humanizing. It brings people together at a very fundamental level.
  6. Just 10 to 15 minute of laughter a day burns between 10 and 40 calories.
  7. Laughter boosts morale. We all want to have more fun at work. And even in the most stringent environments, there is a place for a bit of light laughter.
  8. Laughter lowers blood pressure and decreases the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
  9. The same reward centers and pathways in the brain are activated when we laugh as when we eat chocolate—it’s a natural high.
  10. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells, leading to a stronger immune system.
  11. Tension, fear, frustration, burnout—which is increasingly more common and troublesome among today’s healthcare professionals—all dissipate with laughter.
  12. Watching comedy videos has been proven to decrease hospital patients’ need for opioid pain killers.
  13. Laughter can stimulate circulation and aid in muscle relaxation.
  14. A Robert Half International survey found that 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job.
  15. Laughter reduces serum levels of cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (a major dopamine catabolite), indicating a reversal of the stress response.
  16. Thoughtful humor is a great way to build rapport and influence people.
  17. Laughter boosts creative thinking and innovation–it lowers your internal critic and enables a renewed perspective.
  18. Trust is largely built from laughter—it offers a glimpse of the real authentic you are under your lab coat.
  19. A deep belly laugh releases beta endorphins in the hypothalamus, releasing nitric oxide and dilating blood vessels.
  20. Humor is viewed as a sign of intelligence.
  21. Laughter promotes productivity. It increases work ethic, passion, and dedication.
  22. Serotonin and oxytocin are produced during laughter promoting a feeling of happiness and connection.
  23. Laughter reduces inflammation throughout the body, lowering risk for arthritis and degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s—and can even improve memory function.
  24. Humor can help you stand out from the crowd. Going the extra mile to share a laugh can give you that extra edge you need in a competitive market.

Inspired to incorporate laughter into your busy days at work? Check out the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH). They offer conferences, graduate coursework, and a Certified Humor Professional designation.

And, while you’re considering continuing your education and upgrading your career, you might want to consider the benefits of getting a fast, elite loan specifically for healthcare professionals. A quick increase in cash flow can allow you to take your career to the next level, without putting a strain on your finances.

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