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Using humour to reduce stress

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Attending ‘humour workshops’ could help nurses cope with stress and reduce the chances of suffering from symptoms of burnout, suggest the findings of a review.

Scottish researchers – who studied all the available evidence on the use of humour in nursing over nearly 30 years – found nurses who used humour as a coping mechanism reported lower ‘emotional exhaustion’ and ‘depersonalisation’, and achieved higher levels of ‘personal accomplishment’.

The authors said humour acted as a stress moderator, helping to maintain a positive emotional state. It could be used by nurses to cope with the demands of a job that is ‘high in emotional labour’ and improve relations among staff, they said.

Journal of Advanced Nursing (2008) 61: 584-595

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