Following on from my laughter session at Kirkwood Hospice in Huddersfield today here is a great article taking a look at “The Healing Power Of Laughter In Death And Grief”.
My sessions at the hospice change depending on the people attending but include lots of playfulness. Hospices aren’t just a place of dying – they are a place of living.
Laughing in the face of adversity is very powerful and it is of no surprise that those attending feel a range of emotions.
It is not about making light of the challenges they find themselves in but giving them a tool to let go. To be normal again and have fun just for the sake of having fun. When everyone around them is so serious it’s great for them to get the opportunity to lift the energy and the mood and get a little bit (or sometimes a lot!) silly!
It’s great for patients, staff, carers and volunteers.
I’m back for a second helping on Thursday.
The Healing Power Of Laughter In Death And Grief – Psychology Today
“Humour and hospice are words that you don’t necessarily think of as going together. When I began working in hospice, I never knew I would be laughing so much. It is said that there is a time and a place for everything. Most people believe that hospice is a time for sadness and grief and certainly there are times of great sadness. Usually when you tell someone you work in hospice, they get a solemn look on their face and say, “That is too depressing. I could never do that kind of work.” The truth is that hospice can also be a place for humour. A study done at Kent State and reported in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care revealed that humour was present in 85 percent of 132 observed nurse based visits. Amazingly, they found that 70 percent of the humour was initiated by the patient. If humour is a part of living, than why should it not be a part of dying?
We all know the benefits of laughter in our lives and its role as a Stress reducer. When we laugh, we feel better in the moment but there are also long range effects. Research has shown that laughter strengthens our immune system, improves alertness, increases endorphin levels, lowers blood pressure, increases the production of T-cells and helps the pituitary gland release its own pain suppressing opiates………
Humour is also important during the time of grieving. When we are in the depths of despair over the loss of our loved one, it is hard to think that we will ever smile again let alone laugh. One of the tasks of grieving is to learn to laugh again. A study from the University of Berkeley found that widows and widowers who could smile and laugh when remembering a loved one experienced less anxiety and depression at six, 12, and 24 months. Many successful bereavement groups incorporate laughter where members are encouraged to share humorous experiences associated with their loved one.”