How do you react when you hear a stranger laugh? I bet it makes you smile, even when you have no idea who or why that someone is laughing. Why? Because laughter is contagious. You want to know another good thing about laughter? It is the key ingredient for success in our personal life and, make no mistake, professional life too.
In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of tuning out instead of in all the time when it comes to our modern obsession with technology. This goes for our level of seriousness throughout the day too. We live in a stressful world. If you don’t “let go” once and a while, you WILL crash and burn. Sometimes the only way we can re-set and get out of our own head is to not take life too seriously.
The easiest, cheapest, most 100% guaranteed way to do this is to laugh once and awhile. Yes, you heard right, let loose and chuckle. It unmistakably makes you feel good, but it also makes you healthier.
Studies have shown that regular laughter provides the following health benefits:
- Weight loss – 10-15 minutes of laughter a day can burn enough calories to lose around 4 lbs. a year
- Improved respiration – clears out the respiratory tract while increasing oxygen intake
- Minimized physical pain – releases beta-endorphins which helps to dilate blood vessels
- Boosted immune system – increases the production of T-cells, which are essential to fight infections
There are even proven benefits for voluntary laughter. In other words, laughter does not have to be spontaneous. You can fake it until you make it. We’ve all experienced it, we just don’t acknowledge it. For example, have you ever forced a laugh to mock something or someone, only to break out into genuine laughter? I rest my point. In other words, we laugh because we laugh, not because we’re already happy.
Laughter is good medicine and it’s easy to do, I mean, who turns down hearing a good joke, right? However, when it comes to the professional world, it’s often not a “laughing” matter.
Laughter is contagious. That’s not only the good news, but the great news! Laughter can enhance your personal health, but it also bolsters a healthy, productive work environment. When people smile more and laugh in the workplace, the following wonderful side effects begin to appear:
- Increased productivity – 84% of people with healthy sense of humor perform better at work
- Boosted confidence – breaks the ice, makes others more receptive to new ideas
- Approachable coworkers/managers – breaks down personality barriers/tension/stress
- Diffused conflicts – making a small joke can cut the tension in any room
- Increased creativity – when the mood is “lightened” chance of ridicule/judgement is diminished
With these positive side effects of laughter comes a more positive work environment, essential when seeking and retaining quality talent in our competitive society.
Laugh More, “Cry” Less
However, I understand that not all work environments are a barrel of laughs. But laughter does bring people together while alleviating stress. Take care to ensure the humor is appropriate.
Follow these rules of thumb:
- Know your audience (e.g. refrain from humor when addressing sensitive topics relating to natural disasters, victims of any kind and anything that can be misconstrued as sexist/racist)
- If unsure whether the bit of humor is appropriate, error on the side of caution and skip it
- Don’t get carried away, laughter does have a time/place and there are times to refrain
Follow these tips and create a workplace that embraces laughter. A direct result is a positive work culture where communication, creativity and productivity thrive while stress and tension disappear. So, go ahead, laugh it up in the office today!
Team Building Through Laughter with Larry Lipman
Larry Lipman of Fun Team Building is a Team Building Specialist who success coaches participants into powerful, cohesive TEAMS. Participate in fun and energizing team building activities that turbo-charge morale, teach respect, and build trust. Call Larry today at 770-333-3303 to find out more.