The Best Medicine – Part 1 of 2

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, August 16th, 2012

The overwhelming demands of caregiving frequently exhaust the caregiver physically, mentally, and spiritually. Often, you get so caught up in ministering to another, you forget to eat, sleep, exercise—and laugh. Yes, laugh!

“How can I laugh at a time like this?” many ask. “Is it okay?”laughter

Not only is it okay, it’s imperative.

Laughing is one of the most effective, yet forgotten, coping skills. Medical studies prove laughter lowers blood pressure, increases lung and heart performances, decreases stress, exercises abdominal and facial muscles, boosts immune systems and even increases the production of tumor and virus-killing cells. Besides all that, it’s free, has no side effects, and feels good!

Laughter, like other rhythmic actions, releases endorphins– are our bodies’ “feel good medicines”–in our brains. Think about the last time you enjoyed a hearty belly laugh. Remember, when you finally caught your breath, how good you felt? How much lighter your chest was? How there seemed to be, literally, a weight lifted from your shoulders?

I’ve been privileged to read thousands of true stories from caregivers. Time and time again they shared how laughter helped them through their toughest times.

A loving daughter sat for months at the bedside of her ailing father who was confused and rarely spoke. Still, she chatted away, trying to communicate with him. One day she ran out of things to say, so began singing. Unfortunately, she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but crooned, “I love you. You love me. We’re a great big family.” Her daddy opened his eyes and spoke for the first time in days. “I love you too, honey,” he said. “But you don’t have to sing about it.”

Laughter, she wrote, helped her reclaim some joy in what seemed to be a hopeless situation.

Obviously, we should never laugh at another person, yet laughing with them can be a blessing to both. Many infirmed people insist that just hearing laughter boosts their spirits and happy heart rate. When we laugh at someone else’s silly antics, they often laugh along with us, offering them, too, all the healthy benefits mentioned above.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to find the humor in a situation. Yet to endure the daily challenges, that’s exactly what caregivers must seek.

As a nurse speaker, I specialize in nurse recruitment, nurse retention, and work life balance and can help improve morale, retention and recruitment. CONTACT ME TODAY to talk about my powerful keynotes, workshops and programs. I look forward to helping your organization achieve its goals.




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