1. Miracle, Vickie A. EdD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC

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As many of our readers know, I am a big believer in the benefits of humor. To me, laughter is truly the best medicine. I try to find humor wherever I go and laugh as much as possible.


There are several benefits of laughter, including the following1-3: (1) increases your sense of well-being, (2) burns calories, (3) promotes deep breathing, (4) boosts the immune system, (5) serves as coping mechanism, (6) reduces stress, (7) lowers epinephrine levels, (8) may increase the pain threshold, and (9) stimulates circulation. Laughter has both physical and psychological benefits and is commonly used in healthcare.


One of the first people to recognize the value of humor, particularly in a healthcare setting, is Norman Cousins. Cousins described his own experience with humor and its benefits toward his pain from a debilitating disease.4 He found that after watching some funny movies, his pain level would decrease even to the point that he would be pain-free for several hours. He wrote as follows: "It worked. I made the joyous discovery that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least 2 hours of pain-free relieve."4(p39)


So in keeping with this philosophy, I try to laugh everyday. I look for humor, and usually, there is no limit of sources: families, work, students, colleagues, physicians, everyday situations, and spam. Yes, spam-the electronic version of junk mail. After I became the editor of Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing journal, the number of e-mails I received each day increased. On an average day, I receive 40 to 50 e-mails which require an action or reply and between 100 and 150 e-mails sent to my spam folder. Sometimes, an important e-mail will be placed in the spam folder (despite the filtering system), so I have to go through each e-mail everyday. I realized the other day that after going through approximately 150 e-mails, I occasionally will laugh at the titles or messages.


So here is a list of some of the funniest messages I reviewed over a few days as well as a thought or 2 of mine. I hope you get a chuckle or 2 from this and try to laugh everyday.


1. "All your dreams will become true with this." Does this mean that I have won the lottery and will open a Dairy Queen in St Martin's?


2. "Five secrets of self-healing." As healthcare providers, we may want to avoid this. If everyone stays healthy, what would we do? Remember, healing is our profession.


3. "Feel young with us." Is this the fountain of youth?


4. "Show off your feet now." I do not think so. It is 6 degrees outside with snow. I will keep my shoes on, thank you very much.


5. "Burn fat quickly" and "Banish your belly." I was tempted to read this to see if there are any quick solutions to weight loss so I can look like a supermodel. Then I realized that supermodels do not eat, look emaciated, and must fight paparazzi. That is not the kind of life I want. I will just keep exercising and watching my diet.


6. "Earn your nursing degree." "You still have time to earn a BSN." "Scrub up and earn your nursing degree." "You still have time to become a nurse." I laugh every time I see one of these. Do people who send these messages even realize who is receiving the messages? What is all that alphabet soup after my name already? Oh well, I am glad I still have time to earn my bachelor of science in nursing. I was getting a little worried.


7. "Become an author." This is my favorite. I, with a little help from the wonderful people who sent me this message, can become an author. I have always wanted to write. It would be very fulfilling to see my name in print and show to people. Oh wait a minute, I am an author-have been since 1983. Being an editor is fulfilling and I do enjoy the work. Iam just glad I became an author long before I received this e-mail.



The next time you open your e-mail, take a few minutes to read the subject listed in the message line. I hope that you will find something to laugh about, too.


Vickie A. Miracle, EdD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, CCRC


Editor, DCCN and Lecturer


Bellarmine University


School of Nursing


Louisville, KY




1. Mathew FM. Laughter is the best medicine: the value of humour in current nursing practice. Nurs J India. 2003;94(7):146. [Context Link]


2. Ulloth JK. A qualitative view of humor in nursing classrooms. J Nurse Educ. 2003;42(3):125-130. [Context Link]


3. Facente A. Humor in health care: irrelevant or invaluable? Nursing. 2006;36(4):64hn6-64hn7. [Context Link]


4. Buxman K. Say it with a smile. Nurs Manag. 2002;33(1):49. [Context Link]