Burnout Remedy # 2 – Laughing

Many of us are on the verge or have already burned out in our occupations.  Law enforcement, firefighters, and especially healthcare providers have some of the highest rates of burnout among professions.  The pandemic exacerbated this problem.  As a result, people and organizations have scrambled to provide ways to mitigate burnout.  Unfortunately, the plethora of options can become overwhelming.

Over the next few months I will take a closer look at the top burnout remedies and provide the pros and cons of each.  Today, we look at Laughing.

People often say laughter is the best medicine.  In many ways, it is.  Presently, our bodies seem to remain in the Sympathetic Nervous System mode – the fight or flight.  In this mode, our bodies constantly produce Epinephrine, which is beneficial in small bursts.  But it is not healthy for our bodies to remain on high alert.  Too much Epinephrine triggers a circuit in our brain to begin a quitting mechanism.

Below is a list of the pros and cons of laughing as it pertains to burnout.  A quick laugh or even recalling a memory of a time when you laughed uncontrollably can make a huge difference in your stress level.  In short,

Laughter Revives The Soul.

Burnout Pros

  1. Laughing maintains dopamine levels which aid in many cognitive functions, especially memory, attention, and problem-solving.  These skills are necessary for job satisfaction.
  2. Adequate dopamine levels limit epinephrine, which at high levels may cause us to give up and become emotionally exhausted.
  3. Cortisol levels decreases with laughter.
  4. Laughing reduces depression.
  5. Joy increases and community is built when laughter is shared with others.

Burnout Cons

  1. Without laughter our physiology cannot recover from stress
  2. Certain situations may not be appropriate for laughter.  Though I have laughed at some funerals – long story.
  3. Laughter works better when done consistently, which may take some effort.

Laughing Tips

  1. Make time to watch or listen to something that makes you laugh prior to going to bed.
  2. Share hilarious moments with friends and let them reciprocate.  Everyone has a story.
  3. In stressful situations, look for the funny.  Some comedians make millions of dollars by practicing this.
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