Humor Helps Ease End of Life Stress
Laughter is the best medicine. Even though simple humor should not be considered a complete ‘miracle cure’ for all health conditions, some people have reported feeling better, at least temporarily or longer, after a good bout of laughter. Besides encouraging patients to experience things that make them laugh, more hospitals are offering funny books or videos, and some clinics even offer “laugh yoga“. Although laughter is not generally under voluntary control, it has numerous health benefits. which encourages people to stretch their funny bones on a regular basis. Being able to find ways to laugh and things to laugh at can actually be great for someone’s quality of life, no matter their point in life.
● Laughter is an excellent defense mechanism. Some people may not always feel like being angry, sad, or scared at their current circumstances. So feeling amused by circumstances and finding anything to laugh at is a perfectly healthy way to feel and express yourself.
● It’s a workout for the body. A good belly laugh is actually exercise! It stimulates the muscles of the stomach and face and helps digestion. It produces happy hormones, pain-relieving endorphins, and tears – it’s as physically and emotionally therapeutic as crying without sadness.
● It’s good for the brain. Some academic researchers say that the brain enjoys laughter as well – endorphins help release tension and people feel better mentally.
● It builds trust. Getting medical personnel to be part of the joke too will relax you and relax them. Your nurses, health care providers, therapists, even hospice workers may all take their jobs seriously, but they also appreciate humor and enjoy when a patient tries to find opportunities to laugh.
● It can be supportive. Being around other people going through similar circumstances can create connections, especially if you all can find humor in the same situations. Perhaps your medical community offers support groups, volunteer opportunities, or even online communities to join to discuss the good and the bad of your situations. A program in India called “Laugh at Death” has the purpose of removing some of the social taboos around death, and finding ways to appreciate it and enjoy the experience.