Hospice care can be a very stressful job. Could this explain why hospice has one of the highest employee turnover rates in the United States. As a hospice community, what can we do to turn things around? How can we provide great patient care despite being stressed out by the often insurmountable workload? Is there a secret sauce? Some of you may laugh (we hope you do) at our answer:

Laughter.

 

The Research

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One study found that children laugh as much as 400 times a day. Can you guess how many times on average adults laugh per day? Trust us, it is much worse than you think. Adults were found to laugh only about 15 times a day (Credit to Elizabeth Scott of verywell.com). Could it be that we adults don’t laugh because we are stressed, or are we stressed because we don’t laugh?

Whatever the answer might be, research has shown the relationship between laughter and stress to be inversely correlated (see graph). Meaning, the more stressed you are, the less you laugh. The more you laugh, the less stressed you are. Sounds a little funny doesn't it? (see what we did there?)

 

The Science

Let’s dive a little deeper into this whole “laughter is good for me” thing. Laughter literally reduces the amount of hormones that induce stress in our body. Not only does laughter reduce stress inducing hormones, but it also boosts our immune system. Been feeling sick? Maybe try a double dose of your favorite comedy movie to kickstart your immune system.

 

Have you ever heard someone say “Fake it until you make it”? Well this actually holds true for laughter. Studies have shown that fake laughter has the same effect as real laughter. That means we can all fake laugh our way to a stress free and happy life! Although, real laughter is much more fun and enjoyable, it is nice to know that we can take matters into our own hands and force a laugh just to boost our immune system and reduce our stress level. There are many other benefits to laughing other than just reducing stress.

 

Here is the list of 10 benefits of laughter as told by wonderlist:

  1. Live Longer

  2. Boosted Immune System

  3. Pain Relief

  4. Reduces Depression

  5. Boosts Your Relationship

  6. It is Contagious

  7. Burns Calories

  8. Improves Breathing

  9. Boosts Metabolism

  10. Lowers Blood Pressure

 

Okay laughter is good for you, now what?

There are too many great reasons not to laugh at every chance we get. Go out and make someone laugh today. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with others. Even when you don’t feel like laughing, go ahead and force out a fake laugh. As we now know, our bodies won’t know the difference and you will reap the benefits of real laughter. Hospice is probably one of the toughest industries to have laughter be prevalent, but that is why it is our duty to brighten up our world with laughter and smiles.

SONO challenges you to laugh as much as a child every day. That is 400 laughs per day! So go laugh your butt off.

- The SONO Team

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