The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 38: Laughter as Medicine w/ Dr. Priyanka Wali

Welcome Dr. Priyanka Wali to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Dr. Wali break down the health benefits of laughter and trauma within the medical industry. Dr. Wali is a practicing physician as well as a stand-up comedian, and she offers insight and advice into how laughter and medicine can change lives.

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Key Takeaways

Introductions

  • Dr. Priyanka Wali is a stand-up comic, practicing physician in Internal Medicine, and co-host of the podcast HypochondriActor. In each episode of HypochondriActor, Dr. Wali and co-host Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) welcome a celebrity guest (such as Kristin Bell, Kathy Najimi, Robert Downey Jr., and more) to discuss an incredible medical story.
  • Dr. Wali specializes in holistic internal medicine, integrative nutrition, psychedelics with anxiety & depression (which she’s suffered from), horse therapy, & the link between health and laughter.
  • Furthermore, she’s appeared in Healthline, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health Magazine, and The Kelly Clarkson Show. 

Laughter as Medicine

  • Firstly, it doesn’t matter where it comes from— laughing is good for you! Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke. 
  • Short Term Benefits: lighten your load mentally and induce physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
    • Stimulates organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
    • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
    • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
  • Long Term Benefits: Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
    • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
    • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
    • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
    • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.

Other Topics Discussed 

  • What you perceive externally is a reflection of what’s going on within your own self. So as you change, what you find funny is going to change too.
  • The podcast HypochondriActor brings on a celebrity guest where Dr. Wali and her co-host “marry comedy and medicine”. Last week Stacy and Jennifer Robins discussed Medical Trauma and navigating self advocacy in the medical world after experiencing it.
  • “Hurt people hurt people”. So Dr. Wali’s advice for someone who has experienced trauma and wants to get help from a medical professional is that it is critical to vet the professional and ensure they have the capacity to hold space for your trauma.
  • Mental health issues run rampant in the medical field, and most medial professionals struggle with some form of mental trauma from their education and/or residency. Medical professional need (and should have) empathy for their patients, but sadly this is not always the case.
  • Dr. Wali also specializes in utilizing traditional medicines, such as psychedelics, in treating depression and anxiety. She doesn’t recommend this practice for everyone, but she has a very deep appreciation and sees the benefits of medicinal practices used by indigenous cultures for thousands of years.
  • Finally, playing is so important to mental health and playing can come in all sorts of forms and ways.

Want More? Have Questions?

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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