In nursing, I often see how certain terms or abbreviations can be applied in different areas of my life. The abbreviation WNL stands for Within Normal Limits. I often ask my therapist,” Am I at least WNL?” SOB can have many meanings; however, in nursing it means Shortness of Breath.

Potentiate is a term I learned long ago in pain management. When giving a narcotic, certain OTC’s or “over the counter” drugs, can potentiate the narcotic. You can actually administer less of the narcotic. Think of it as “getting more bangs for your buck” (not an actual nursing term).

Humor, laughter and mirth potentiate healthfulness. Sure, you can take all your vitamins, prescribed medications, get your teeth cleaned 2x a year and eat a rainbow of vegetables… and most likely you will lead a fulfilled life.

If you add laughter and humor to your daily regime, you potentiate all your other healthy habits. The physical and physiological effects of laughter potentiate your immune and cardiovascular system. Laughter and mirth (mirth is needed for health benefits) help potentiate brain power. Laughter, humor and eventual mirthfulness, potentiate your mental health and spiritual being.

Certified Laughter Leaders and Laughter Yoga Instructors (as well as class clowns, humorists and comedians) potentiate positivity in human beings. Leading others to laugh helps humans navigate thru fear, shame, helplessness and hopelessness.

Leading laughter circles in long term care units, I see residents often slumped in their chairs during the day. I know that laughter exercise has potentiated mobility in these people, as evidenced by seeing their fingers wiggling, hands clapping and and feet tapping.

Laughter, humor and mirth can potentiate many therapies, which can lead to increase compliance in ADL’s (activities of daily living), medicine regimes and healthy behaviors.

I was a nurse and teacher in a detox/drug rehabilitation unit. One day, I took my rehab inpatient group to the park. I led my group in laughter exercises. At first, there was an initial shock of laughing in a public place without the aid of alcohol or drugs and then a fear of being laughed at by others. A discussion followed the session. Mirthful laughter potentiated this group’s natural ability to do healthy risk taking, invest in future healthy happiness and healthy coping skills.

In this day and age, everyone (across the US culture) seems to be on the spectrum of food and political sensitivities. With that said, being mindful of the humor you use and what/whom you are laughing with, can potentiate shared commonalities and lead to peace. Now wouldn’t that be something?!