Are humour and the care industry really incompatible? Many may think that with all the misfortunes that a caregiver encounters on a daily basis, humour is out of place and even inappropriate. But with the right use of humour, situations can be viewed from a different perspective, tensions in everyday work can be reduced and friendships can be built. And humour can also be used sensibly and have a supportive effect in professional care.
Humour in care – why is it so important?
Many scientific works already deal with the targeted use of humour in care. It has a positive impact on patients in many ways. Not only the perspective is changed and problems can lose intensity. Physically, laughter can relax muscles, release blockages, increase vascular volume and reduce both adrenaline and cortisol release. That relieves stress.
On an emotional level, the commitment can help, especially in relation to oneself. Humour connects, because it creates an open basis for communication and facilitates access to the patients, who thus gain trust more quickly. It helps to better control the fear of an illness and not to see oneself in the victim role. The patient’s sense of humour is particularly important here. Those who can laugh at themselves show weakness and are better able to admit it to themselves.
However, using this method is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a high degree of sensitivity. A wrong joke at the wrong time can also trigger negative feelings and have the opposite effect. But don’t worry – humour can be learned!
Laughter is also good for caregivers
Stress not only has negative effects on one’s own health, but also occurs quickly in jobs where things get more turbulent at times. As in the care industry, where caregivers are known to be exposed to enormous stress and other burdens. Humour can counteract this stress. Laughter helps to release tension and helps to deal better with difficult situations.
When you laugh, endorphins are released, which temporarily inhibit the production of stress hormones. So there’s nothing wrong with giving your facial muscles a little exercise at work.
Laughter as pain therapy
Many positive effects are attributed to laughter. It is not only supposed to help against stress, the physical effects are not to be scoffed at either. Healing processes can be accelerated and it is also used in pain therapy. Open laughter has been credited with the same pain-relieving benefits as endorphins, with the belief that laughter releases them. Alternatively, there is the approach that laughter merely distracts from the pain – but as long as the effect occurs, the way should probably not matter. Another approach assumes that the positive feelings triggered are enough to reduce the pain. A direct laugh would not be necessary here, the patients* only have to have fun.
Tip: According to a study on what patients want from nurses, those in need of care find humour helpful. They feel valued and accepted as a person if you treat them with humour or, for example, respond to their jokes.
More and more clowns in care
The use of professional clowns in everyday clinical practice is increasing. This is particularly popular with children or seniors, as these age groups are particularly susceptible. In contact with the clowns, the children draw new energy and this leads to an improvement in their health.
In retirement homes, the clowns provide a skilful variety and bring some color into the lives of the elderly. Through loving contact, games, singing and making music together, they not only brighten the mood. Depression can be counteracted, mobility improved and cognitive abilities strengthened.