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Therapeutic Use of Humor in Recovery. “ Jest for the Fun of It ” Lori Green, DNP, RN, CASAC FADAA/FCCMH Annual Conference Thursday July 7 , 2014. WHO AM I???.

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Therapeutic Use of Humor in Recovery

  • “Jest for the Fun of It”

    Lori Green, DNP, RN, CASAC

  • FADAA/FCCMH Annual Conference

    Thursday July7, 2014

The stress response
The Stress Response

Shallow breathing

Increased blood pressure

Adrenalin floods blood stream

Increased muscle tension

Digestion slows down

Increased heart rate

The laughter response
The Laughter Response

  • Promotes Deep breathing

  • Oxygen in blood increases

  • Blood pressure decreases

  • Muscle tension decreases

  • Better digestion

  • Brain releases endorphins

Humor is a therapeutic communication technique
Humor is a Therapeutic Communication Technique…..

“The shortest distance betweenTwo people is a smile”

Victor Borge

Laughter in recovery process
Laughter in Recovery Process

Humor combats fear

Humor comforts

Humor Relaxes

Humor reduces pain

Humor Boosts the Immune System

Humor reduces Stress

Humor Speads Happiness

Humor cultivates optimism

Humor helps Communication

Psychological benefits
Psychological Benefits…..

Laughter helps with replacing losses by:

•Increasing self-esteem

•See new perspective

•Reducing internal stress

•Increasesmental flexibility

•Helps gain control over situation

Social benefits
Social Benefits……

•Helps to diffuse anger

•Decrease conflict

•Builds trust

•Decreases fear

•Eases tension

•Enhances group activities

Spiritual b enefits
Spiritual Benefits…..

• Laughter is universal

• Decreases prejudice

• Reveals connections of all

• Balances mind, body and soul

• Helps towards obtaining


Rx Laughter:

  • Schedule time to have fun/ Block the time out.

  • Make this a commitment to yourself.

  • Write it on your planner!

  • Find humor in a stressful situation (Keep your eyes open for humorous Situations and share them!)

  • World Laughter Day is celebrated May 2nd

  • 'Fake It Until You Make It‘ (Laughter Yoga)


Memorize and be able to tell at least one short joke or story.

Movies/ Music/ cartoons

Websites and blogs

Collect & use humorous memos, signs, posters, bumper stickers, etc.

Keep a humor journal

Start a humor library

Have fun be in the here and now mindfulness

Have Fun……. Be ‘In The Here and Now’/ mindfulness

Have Friends Over More Often

Tell Jokes

Have a Regular Game Night

Step back/Prioritize/Let things go

Therapy homework assignment
Therapy Homework assignment:

1. List 5 things you love to do, that you feel joyful when you do them,

that you haven’t done in the last several months. (I.E. lying in the sun,

taking a cruise, getting a message, reading a good book, dancing, going

to a humor talk, etc.)

2. Now, besides each of these things list what stops you from doing it –

something either inside (your feelings) or outside (lack of money, time)

that keeps you from doing it.

3. Take two things on your list that hold the most joy and think of one

step you can take toward bringing it into your life.



4. Make your calendar with a date and time that you will bring each of

these joyful activities into your life.

Associations websites

  • Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH)





Humor group project

Anxiety decreases the ability to engage with patients and decreases retention of information(Parrot, 1994)

Mental health clinical rotation
Mental Health Clinical Rotation

“Nurses have to deal with a lot of heavy stuff….humor keeps us grounded and ready for more”.

“Nurses generally become a part of people’s lives during difficult times…humor should be incorporated into every healthcare setting as appropriate”

Will you incorporate humor into your nursing practice? How?

  • “ I really feel that throughout my nursing career as well as life, I will be able to utilize the different techniques and skills we learned through this experience”

  • “ …because I want to work in peds…something to make the children laugh to help with their fears”.

Benefits of Laughter:

  • Increase Blood flow

  • Increased Immune response

  • Lower Blood sugar levels

  • Increased Relaxation and sleep

  • Increased Social Benefits

  • Increased Job Satisfaction

  • Humor is a positive emotion.. Use it!


  • Having fun and exposing yourself to the many benefits of humor is an essential part of self-care and will make you a better clinician .

  • release endorphins, which make you feel better, and can lead you to actually feeling more happy

Improve your life and your skills
Improve your life and your skills:

…and laugh more this year!!!