AHP Blog: The Veterinary Practice Owner’s 4-Step Guide to Selecting Employee Health Benefits

Veterinary practice owners are dedicated to health. It’s the foundation of a lifelong commitment to animals. But while veterinary practice owners and managers are experts on caring for animals, navigating the confusing world of employee health, is, well, a whole different animal.

Read More

AVMA LIFE Educational Resources

Laughter Is a Serious Matter

Posted on 4/2/2020 by AVMA LIFE

When was the last time you laughed? I mean, really laughed?

Was it a giggle, chortle, guffaw… or maybe even a snort? How did it make you feel afterward?

If you can’t remember laughing or how it felt, take a laugh break now. Go on, we'll wait. We're serious. Just laugh. Take a moment to find something funny, then give it a go.

Life can be difficult at times (especially for veterinarians), and laughter can help you ride the waves. So, pretend if you must, but don’t neglect laughter. It’s a critical part of life, and we're about to tell you why.

Appreciate Your Inner Pharmacy

"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine."—Lord Byron

You've probably heard that laughter is good medicine, but you may not be aware of its many documented benefits. It's free and convenient… and there's no such thing as an overdose.

Laughter can be enjoyed whether you’re alone or in a crowd. It's a powerful healer that's easily accessed, providing benefits that touch the mind, body, and spirit. Let's look at how it makes a difference:

  • • Socially: Laughter brings people together and helps establish amazing connections. Have you ever seen something funny and started to laugh, only to have others join you for no reason? Just watch a baby giggle, and you might laugh, too! That's because laughter can be contagious. It tears down walls. Science shows that it's good for relationships—those who laugh together are also drawn closer together.
  • Physically: Your body loves laughter. Researchers at the Loma Linda University in California discovered that laughing:
    • ⚬ Lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack
    • ⚬ Reduces stress hormones, minimizing anxiety and its effects on the body
    • ⚬ Works muscles in your stomach (yep, the belly laugh) and helps other muscles relax
    • ⚬ Provides a cardio workout, burning calories and getting the heart to pump (similar to walking at a slow to moderate pace)
    • ⚬ Boosts the immune system, activating T-cells that help your body fight off sickness
    • ⚬ Triggers endorphins, releasing the body’s natural painkillers to help ease chronic pain
    • Fights memory loss, helps improve focus, and increases creativity
  • • Emotionally: Laughter can help produce a positive outlook on life and a general sense of well-being. There are both short- and long-term effects, with countless studies verifying its benefits. Laughter is truly a wonder drug. Laughter provides a release for anger, helps lighten burdens, and makes situations appear brighter.

Did you know laughter can be a cure for many illnesses, too? Just think about that! Norman Cousins talked about it in "Anatomy of an Illness," and Patch Adams used intentional humor as a healing modality in hospitals. Many even think humor can be used as an alternative medicine.

Develop Your Humor Muscles

"Laughter is an instant vacation." —Milton Berle

One study says healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, and adults tend to laugh only 15 minutes per day. So, what do you do if you're low on laughter? Where's a laughter supplement when you need one?

The good news is humor can be learned. It's possible to develop your sense of humor so that you can take advantage of its many benefits whether you feel like something is funny or not… because your body reacts as if you'd laughed!

So, just "fake it 'til you make it" because, like smiling, the positive effects are the same—your body doesn't distinguish the difference. And, no, you don't really have humor muscles, but who couldn't use a mental vacation (even if it's only a momentary one)?!

So, turn up the corners of your mouth and force a laugh, and see how it makes you feel.

Need some other ideas?

Take Humor Seriously

"Laughter is the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug. Laughter is a universal medicine." –Bertrand Russell

A sense of humor affects so many aspects of our health and well-being. There's even a science devoted to laughter and its effects on the body. Some experts say it can help you live longer.

In "How Humor Can Save the World," Karyn Buxman says if humor were bottled, it would need FDA approval. It's much more powerful than most of us realize and can even change us on a cellular level.

There's no doubt we all need a little laughter to remain healthy socially, physically, emotionally, and mentally. So, whether you enjoy a comic or a laughing lion… or something entirely different, find what you like, take time to laugh, and enjoy life more. It can change—and even add years to—your life.

To learn about the products and services offered by the AVMA Trust, visit our websites: AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT.

Veterinary Students | What You Need to Know Now About Student Loans

It's hard to imagine a part of life that COVID-19 hasn't affected. In response to the pandemic, federal loans—which many veterinary students rely on—have undergone some noteworthy restructuring. In just 20 minutes, our panel of experts provides everything you need to know now about student loans.


Latest Webinars

Cyber Solutions for Your Practice

Featuring AVMA Trust veterinarian Dr. Nina Mouledous, HUB International Senior Vice President of Cyber Liability Emily Selck and Stratosphere Networks Chief Information Security Officer Jesse Miller, the panel will dive into the latest strategies to shore up your practice's cyber defenses and incident response plan in an increasingly hazardous digital landscape.

View the Recorded Webinar

Employee Health and Safety in Veterinary Practice

Employee Safety is central to a healthy and productive veterinary practice. Scott Simpson, Risk Consultant for the AVMA PLIT, will present a high level overview of Worker’s Compensation data to determine how practices can apply safe handling procedures to reduce their Worker’s Compensation claims while protecting their employee’s wellbeing on the job.

View the Recorded Webinar

Navigating the Complexities of COVID-19 in 2020: a Focus on Veterinary Professional Liability and Other Important Business and Personal Insurance Coverages

This webinar sponsored by the AVMA Trusts, AVMA PLIT and AVMA LIFE will focus on the important aspects of veterinary professional liability during the COVID-19 crisis and will also review other business and personal coverages relevant to protecting your assets during COVID-19.

View the Recorded Webinar

Something to Chew On: A Start to Finish Overview of Foodborne Outbreak Investigations

What do Lettuce, Turkey, and Papayas have in common? They have all been the source of recent foodborne outbreaks! This webinar will provide an overview of how multistate foodborne outbreaks are identified and investigated. It will also provide a detailed review of some recent Salmonella and E. coli outbreak investigations. Come learn how veterinarians are involved in investigating and preventing foodborne outbreaks.

View the Recorded Webinar

Solving the Mystery of Recruiters: Their Role in Your Career and How to Get on Their Radar

For some veterinary professionals, there might be an air of mystery surrounding recruiters and how to work with them. To solve that mystery, we’ve invited Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter to present the next session in the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Life Webinar series!

View the Recorded Webinar

Illness Outbreaks Linked to Enteric Zoonoses and the Interconnectedness of Human and Animal Health

Finding ways for people to interact with animals and enjoy the human-animal bond, while remaining healthy is what veterinarians do best. Attend this webinar and learn more about the tools and resources which provide valuable information to keep pets and pet owners healthy.

View the Recorded Webinar

Sleeping Well Through Shiftwork and Stress

The importance of sleep quality and quantity is often over looked when thinking about our physical and mental well-being. Come learn about the science of sleep and how to achieve consistent, sufficient, and restorative sleep.

View the Recorded Webinar

Past Webinars

How to Buy a Veterinary Hospital

Download Presentation Slides

Healthcare Provider Mental Health: Preventing Suicide and Building Resilience

Download Presentation Slides

Download Presentation Q&A

The Millennial Relationship to Service Brands

Download Presentation Slides

Part I: Mental Health & Wellness

Download Presentation Slides

Part II: Reversing Poor Wellbeing

Download Presentation Slides

Managing Well-being and Rapid Change

Download Presentation Slides