Laughter to Reduce Stress? Don’t be Silly!
Laughter is the best medicine.
Old adage or scientific wisdom? Actually, both. Business professionals have long known that laughter and humor have had health benefits. Ancient Greek physicians used to prescribe laughter as part of an ill person’s medical care. Jesters of history were employed not only for entertainment but to ensure the royal family laughed because it added to their longevity.
Modern technology has allowed researchers to document the biological and physiological benefits of laughter. Here are just a few of the more well-documented benefits (found in 10 or more studies):
- It relieves physical tension and relaxes the whole body.
- Boosts the immune system.
- Triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins give a sense of well-being and are the body’s natural feel good chemicals.
- Protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow; two key components of any cardiovascular benefit.
- Increases oxygen intake throughout the entire body which energizes muscles and stimulates organs.
- It decreases blood sugar levels by stimulating the endocrine system.
- Reduces pain receptors allowing for pain-free treatments- BONUS!
- Gives a workout to the diaphragm, abs, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. Who needs the gym?!
- Lowers stress hormone levels such as cortisol and adrenaline.
- Increases alertness, creativity, and memory.
Threading more humor into your practice doesn’t take much effort. It does take a bit of planning. Here are a few ideas where you can continue to be the professional you are and have the benefits of laughter too:
1. Start every huddle with a joke. Keep them clean. Yes, they are out there.
2. Get a ‘joke of the day’ app on your phone like iFunny.
3. Subscribe to YouTube channels that are motivational, inspirational, and funny.
4. Buy daily calendars with comic jokes on them. You know the kind where you peal off each day. Place them in each op, lab, lobby, and your office. Change it up so there is a different calendar in each area. Don’t let the team throw away the really funny ones. See #15.
5. Have theme days in your office to liven up the environment. Visit your local party store or go to PartyCity.com for ideas and accessories.
6. Encourage your team to be more silly in the office- laughter is contagious. Don’t believe me, watch Contagious Subway Laughter on YouTube and try not to laugh yourself.
7. Make silly team videos and post them to your office Facebook page. Dentists so often want their patients to see them as serious, professional doctors. And why? No, really, I wanna know! Wouldn’t you’d rather see a doctor that you knew would be fun to hang with, talk to, and you could handle spending an hour or two with? Or if not the doc then the team?
8. Encourage your team to wear scrubs with printed images on them, funny t-shirts, and silly outfits (on special days). If you don’t think that is also great marketing we need to talk.
9. Play comedies that are family-friendly throughout your office (I Love Lucy, Golden Girls, Sponge Bob, Carol Burnet Show, American’s Funniest Videos, and Bill Cosby.)
10. Have joke books, comic books, funny short stories, and uplifting magazines throughout the office instead of gossipy magazines.
11. Laugh at yourself. If you laugh at things you do then you give permission for others to laugh as well.
12. Share funny stories from your life; kids and animals are typically family-friendly.
13. Look for the funny in things. When you intentionally look for humorous situations they start appearing everywhere.
14. Hang out with funny people and share their stories. If you’re not naturally funny, find someone that is.
15. Cut up or print some of your favorite Sunday comics, frame them, and hang them on the walls of your office. Make it simpler and take old, calendar jokes from around the office and post them on a corkboard. Make it accessible to patients while they relax in your reception area.
You can change the atmosphere and vibe of your office for yourself, your team, and your patients just with these easy tips. All while reducing your stress.
What did you think of this blog? Leave a comment and let me know.
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