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Laughter & Tears: Healing for the Soul

HOW ARE LAUGHTER&TEARS IMPORTANT FOR NURSES IN TODAY'S HOSPITAL SETTING? Laughter helps my physical healing and well-being Crying releases hormones that help me relax and feel more human agaln It makes me feel emotionally supported Laughter and tears are natural resources that are often neglected in managing personal and professional stress. Facilitating patients' and families' laughter and tears is an important skill in providing emotional support, which is central to the caring role of nursing. BENEFITS OF LAUGHTER AND TEARS Laughter and tears are among the most effective human resources for stress management - often with the same results as tranquilizers and muscle relaxants. 2) They release emotional They generate compassion which reduces They help resolve any They help focus on constructive interpersonal problem solving conflicts tension stress HOW IT WORKS: THE BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION OF LAUGHTER AND TEARS The biological function of laughter and tears is to effect biochemical change - to discharge the tension that accompanies the painful emotions of fear, anger and loss. EYES MOUTH Tears and nasal secretions containing hormones, steroids, and toxins that accumulate in the body during stress are released. Laughter contracts the "smile" muscle which stimulates the thymus gland to secrete thymosin. LUNGS HEART Diaphragmatic breathing patterns provoke respiratory relaxation (opposite of fight-flight response breathing patterns). Increased catecholamine levels in the blood raise heart rate and blood pressure, followed by state of relaxation. THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS OF EMOTIONS FOR PATIENTS RELEASE RELIEF CALMING HEALING ACCEPTANCE REALIZATION PLEASANTLY DRAINED MANAGING EMOTIONAL PAIN Supporting painful emotions promotes physical, emotional and mental health: : Convey support through eye contact, nodding, appropriate touching, listening Acknowledge everyone has their own Create an Convey atmosphere of safety through acceptance acceptance, interest and coping acknowledgeme mechanism way PUTTING LAUGHTER AND TEARS TO WORK WITH YOUR PATIENTS LAUGHTER & TEARS • Let the patient laugh first - then laugh together. It will be therapeutic for both of you • Always keep tissues to hand • Spending time with someone in a non-judgmental way can be beneficial • Laugh for no reason • Let patients know you are laughing to release tension, not because you feel happy/indifferent • Crying together can create a bond, but always let the patient cry first • Allow patients to laugh without asking them why they're laughing • Remember, you are crying to relieve your own emotional pain, not the patient's • Provide laughter resources: toys, cartoons, comedy DVDS and books CONCLUSION Laughter and tears are mechanisms that discharge physical tension, and rebalance the chemicals that accompany painful emotions like fear, anger and sadness. Adapted from: Dugan, D. O. (1989), Laughter and Tears: Best Medicine for Stress. Nursing Forum, 24: 18-26. [WwW document] URL: [accessed 10 June 2014). Sacred Heart University WILEY Sacred Heart UNIVERSITY 5151 Park Avenue Fairfield, CT 06825 Copyright © Wiley 2014 Telephone: (877) 791-7181 Website: ZAD

Laughter & Tears: Healing for the Soul

shared by samdemello on Oct 12
In an emotionally charged work environment such as nursing, laughter, tears and other emotions are going to be at an all time high, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These physical reactions of t...


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