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Laughter Really is The Best Medicine

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A giggle a day can keep the Doctor away

In the fast-paced and often stressful world of work, we all need a dose of laughter to keep our spirits high and our relationships strong.

Trust him, he’s a Doctor

My guest on the Humourology podcast Dr. Phil Hammond  a renowned medical comedian, believes that humour is a powerful tool that unites people and fosters compassion. As he puts it, “The best humour unites us.”

In the realm of medicine, compassion is of utmost importance. Doctors like Dr. Phil understand the delicate balance between using humour to soften the impact of bad news and avoiding humour when it may hurt or frighten others. Being mindful of the impact of our words on others is a crucial aspect of being compassionate, not just in medicine but in any profession where sensitive conversations are a part of the job.

The importance of wellbeing in the workplace has been increasingly recognised by businesses worldwide. It’s not enough for leaders to claim that “people are our greatest asset”; they need to genuinely care for their employees’ wellbeing. And what better way to show care than through humour? Studies have shown that laughter has a positive impact on mental health, stress levels, and overall well being.

The connection between laughter and improved health is not a mere anecdote; it’s backed by science. Dr. William F. Fry, the father of ‘gelotology,’ proved that laughter reduces pain and boosts the immune system. Dr. Lee Berk’s research even demonstrated that heart attack patients who watched humorous videos experienced better health outcomes compared to those who didn’t.

laughter as medicine

The healing power of laughter isn’t limited to the medical field alone. Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams  , known for his clown therapy approach, reminded us that healing should be a loving human interchange, not just a business transaction. His work has inspired thousands of therapeutic care clowns worldwide, proving that laughter transcends boundaries and cultures.

Dr. Madan Kataria’s creation of Laughter Yoga showcases the remarkable power of laughter in a group setting. The body doesn’t differentiate between genuine and acted laughter, so even if you’re faking it, the benefits remain the same. It’s an innovative way to promote joy and wellbeing.

In our pursuit of humour, we must remember that not all jokes are universally appealing. Humour is a complex phenomenon, and what may be hilarious to one person could be offensive to another. Dr. Phil Hammond, in his journey as a medical comedian, has learned to navigate this delicate balance. Sometimes, he shares amusing stories about his own mistakes, but he also acknowledges the gravity of his profession. In medicine, where mistakes can have serious consequences, he emphasises the importance of being wiser, kinder, and more compassionate over the years.

It’s fascinating how humour can extend beyond personal interactions and positively impact various sectors of society. In the realm of health promotion, the findings from studies on humour’s effectiveness in delivering serious messages are invaluable. Learning from commercial advertising and public safety campaigns, health promotion initiatives can incorporate well-thought-out humour to attract attention, enhance message memory, and promote positive attitudes. By recognising the power of humour in communicating sensitive topics, health campaigns can break down barriers and connect with their target audience on a deeper level.

In the end, the essence of Humourology lies in using humour responsibly and thoughtfully. Laughter is a universal language that can bridge gaps, heal wounds, and promote well-being. As we navigate our personal and professional lives, let’s remember to embrace the power of laughter. Whether we’re doctors, business leaders, or individuals striving for better relationships, humour can be the catalyst that unites us, fosters compassion, and makes the journey of life more enjoyable. So, let’s keep our spirits high, share a good laugh, and discover the true magic of humour – it’s a precious gift that keeps on giving!

Using Humour to Unite

Recent studies have explored how humour can be an effective tool for communicating serious messages. Scottish comedian and women’s health physiotherapist Elaine Miller collaborated with Professor Helen Skouteris to examine the connections between humour and health promotion. They found that humour can act as an emotional buffer, making it easier for people to receive and retain important messages.

So, whether you’re a doctor, an HR professional, an engineer, a lawyer, or a police officer, incorporating humour into your work interactions can have positive effects on both yourself and others. Laughter has the power to build strong relationships, foster compassion, and improve overall wellbeing.

As we navigate the challenges of work and life, let’s not forget to inject some humour into our days. It’s not just a frivolous addition; it’s a powerful tool for healing and connecting with others. So, laugh freely, spread joy, and remember that laughter really is the best medicine – and it’s absolutely free!

See you next Tuesday.


Paul x



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