Did you know there’s actual truth in the saying “laughter is the best medicine”? Not only is it fun to have a good laugh, but it can also actually improve your health by strengthening your immune system, boosting your mood, diminishing pain, and protecting you from the damaging effects of stress. We could all do with a light-hearted mental and physical boost right about now.
When the dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, Ngaire Woods, worked with Kyocera’s founder Mr Inamori, she noted “Behind his dignified demeanour, [Mr] Inamori has a lovely sense of humour.”
We should all take a page from Inamori’s book and encourage laughter in the workplace. Bringing play, fun and laughter into our business helps us deal with stress, lightens tension in teams, boosts engagement, spurs creativity and collaboration. Humour also brings with it a higher probability of learning, better conflict management, faster recovery from stressful situations and an increase in overall work effectiveness.
The science behind the benefits and humour tell us that we can’t experience two emotions at once. So if you are laughing or feeling enjoyment, you can’t be feeling pressured or stressed. It’s like a mini vacation. That mini vacation resets our emotional battery, and we all know how important it is to keep our batteries charged.
Here are some ways to bring more laughter into your life:
Smile. A good laugh always starts with a smile. Smile at strangers, the service staff at your local supermarket and, of course, your colleagues.
Count your blessings. Make a list of all that is positive in your life, you might be surprised at how long the list is. By practising gratitude, you block the negative emotions that can stop you from laughing.
Move towards the laughter. Laughter can be contagious, so when you hear people laughing, move towards it. People are usually happy to share the joke because it gives them the opportunity to laugh again.
Bring humour into conversations and spend time with fun people. Let’s use this as an opportunity to let go of some of the recent heaviness we feel as a nation, and foster solutions and unity through laughter.