Everyone knows the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” but for cardiac patients, it is more than just a catchy phrase. Laughing helps cardiac patients in many ways on their road to recovery, and the following are just a few compelling reasons to encourage those patients to laugh and smile more.
Noticeable Health Effects
Everyone feels better after a good belly laugh, but the benefits go far beyond just having a good time. Heart problems are all too common today, so you will likely come across many cardiac patients whether you specialize in cardiology or not. As you care for these patients, it is important to know how humor can affect their health.
Laughing helps cardiac patients’ health in ways that are measureable and significant, such as lower stress hormones, higher levels of the good HDL cholesterol, improved dilation of the inner lining of blood vessels, and less inflammation in the arteries. Meanwhile, people who have more anger and stress tend to have more heart problems. According to the American Heart Association, the benefits of laughter last for about 24 hours, which is a great reason to laugh often.
Caring for Cardiac Patients
Providing nursing care for cardiac patients can be complex, but staying focused on certain key care aspects helps to keep priorities in order. In addition to helping patients lighten up and laugh, there are other elements to keep in mind when caring for cardiac patients.
Make sure patients closely adhere to the heart-healthy nutritional guidelines they received from their doctors. Because it is essential for cardiac patients to exercise regularly, monitor patients’ fitness progress and help them get involved in an exercise rehabilitation plan specifically designed for cardiac patients. Also, take time to educate your patients about their condition and how to manage it.
Sometimes the simplest strategies for helping others can also be the best. For example, a smile is easy and does not cost a penny, yet it goes a long way toward helping a patient heal. So smile often, make eye contact and speak kind, calming words to your patients. Freely tell wholesome jokes and laugh with cardiac patients just for the sake of laughing.
Even if you start with a “fake” laugh, you will undoubtedly find that within a short time, you are laughing for real. Giggling and chuckling can be contagious, so spread the humor to others throughout the day. Everyone will feel more lighthearted, and you will be doing an important service to all the cardiac patients who receive the lasting health benefits of humor.
Now that you know how much laughing helps cardiac patients, go ahead and give it a try. You do not have to be a stand-up comic to entertain and delight the patients who come across your path; you just need to be someone who likes to lighten things up. Your cardiac patients will be so glad you took the time to be humorous. They just might pay it forward and help others do the same.
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