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Laughter Is The Best Medicine, Especially In Medical Practices

1 month, 1 week ago

2103  0
Posted on Jun 07, 2024, 5 p.m.

Have you ever wondered why some people are happier than others or why some people tend to handle stress better than others? According to a new study published in BMC Primary Care from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), the secret ingredient is humor, and laughter is the best medicine, especially for those in medical practices.

The study found that a humorous remark at just the right time can go a long way, and that benevolent humor can help medical assistants (MAs) to cope more positively with their stressful working day.  MAs mostly work in primary healthcare, and their daily work routines can be very demanding as they are responsible for administrative work, and a range of other tasks such as taking blood samples and applying wound dressings among other duties. 

"Medical assistants are in very close contact with patients for most of the day. They have a lot of responsibility and experience a lot of stress," says Julia Raecke from BIBB, who is doing her doctorate at MLU.

"Little is known about the consequences of different humor styles. We set out to investigate those, as it should make a big difference, whether MAs use puns or sarcasm when dealing with patients. Talking to people that are potentially sick requires a lot of empathy and verbal dexterity," explains Professor René Proyer, a psychologist at MLU.

It is well known that humor can help people cope with stress, which is one of several factors that can influence well-being at home or work. This study surveyed over 600 MAs to investigate how they experience work and what style of humor they use in their working lives. The MAs also answered questions about job satisfaction, work engagement, self-efficacy, and if they were in leadership roles.

The analysis revealed that if the respondents preferred to use light, well-intended humor, they were more satisfied with their work and received more positive feedback. While dark humor, such as sarcasm, was more likely to have some disadvantages.

Those who preferred positive and benevolent humor in general were found to be more satisfied with their work. Those with a preference for this kind of light humor also reported receiving more positive feedback, and they were more likely to feel that they were making a difference at work.

Dark humor, sarcasm, and presumably negative humor did not score worse among the respondents. Satire and irony are thought to be dark humor by some; however, no negative correlation was found with the respondents' well-being. 

On the darker side of the spectrum, aggressive humor, cynicism, and sarcasm had negative effects. However, sarcasm does have its place and shouldn’t be completely condemned. For example, a quick-witted short sarcastic remark among colleagues and friends can help to release frustration. 

"Knowing about the effects of humor and different styles can help to make conversations with patients more pleasant. That said, waiting rooms are not supposed to become comedy clubs. It's more about using humor consciously and appropriately," concludes Proyer.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. Additionally, it is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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