When was the last time that you had a good chuckle or sat with loved ones and had a laugh? Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are contending with such serious physical pain, personal struggles, financial challenges, medical complications, and relationship strains which cause them to become depressed, demoralized, and it is hard to get through the day at times. Regular laughter and humor are just not a part of their life. However, what if the laughter that you are missing could significantly bolster a Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient's overall health and quality of life? The following are tips on how laughter improves patient health and insights to get you laughing more starting today.
Dialysis Treatments are dreaded by many patients, whether it is In-Center Hemodialysis, Home Hemodialysis or Peritoneal Dialysis. The fact is that treatment can be painful, long and most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients feel a loss of control over their lives, increased fatigue, and unhappiness. Adapting to the reality of Dialysis varies, but overwhelmingly, living with the hours required on Dialysis is a common challenge for patients. “Often it’s especially in those moments when you feel like laughing the least, when you actually need to laugh the most,” according to Ros Ben-Moshe (Laughter Yoga Therapist). By increasing laughter, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients may gain the following benefits:
- Laughter relaxes the whole body: A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system: Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals: Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart: Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
- Laughter burns calories: It’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
- Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load: Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
- Laughter may help you to live longer: A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don't laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
- Laughter stops distressing emotions: You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge: It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Laughter shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light: A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and diffuse conflict.
- Laughter draws you closer to others: This can have a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health.
Some may say, "That is great for people that have something to laugh at, but I do not have anything or anyone funny in my life." Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should find things to laugh at. It does not have to be something that is pure comedy. Start with a smile. Take a deep breath. Be grateful that you are alive - even though you have to contend with serious life-threatening challenges. Roll your shoulders, relax your jaw, and give a chuckle at yourself or a sly joke or a prior life happening. For a list of Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis Patient jokes to get started, you can click here.
Recommended Reading: Chronic Kidney Disease Is Not A Laughing Matter...Usually
Laughter does not have to be spontaneous. You can boost laughter and enjoyment by watching a funny movie, TV show, or YouTube video, bringing humor into conversations, reading the funny pages, seeking out funny people, sharing a good joke or a funny story, checking out your bookstore’s humor section, playing with a pet, goofing around with children/grandchildren, doing something silly, taking part in fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke).
How do you experience laughter and joy in your life? Share your experience and insights with the over 68,000 Friends who have liked KidneyBuzz.com on Facebook (click here). Also, follow the over 250,000+ monthly individual viewers who visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly for the latest daily news and information which teach those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes, and Hypertension how to better manage and improve their lives. Erica Ashley Jenkins (Dialysis Nurse) said, "Hello I just wanted to let you know I work in a dialysis clinic and over half of our clinic reads this page, we enjoy everything you put on and love to have new information. My patients are very grateful."