The Power of Laughter
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” — Dr. Seuss
Laughter is easily one of the most contagious sounds on the planet. The sound is unique to everyone, but the feelings that come during and after are the same. We’re left feeling lighter, more uplifted, happier, healthier and more! People always say “laughter is the best medicine,” and there is real truth in that. Laughing can reduce stress, burn calories, boost your immune system, and relax your muscles all at the same time. But if you’re someone who works in a high-stress environment, laughter may be a sound rarely heard in your office. The truth is, these high-stress positions are in great need of the levity that laughter can provide. A Gallup poll found that actively disengaged employees erode an organization’s bottom line while breaking the spirit of colleagues in the process. The cost in the US is estimated to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone.
“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” — Lord Byron
While there may be a time and place for specific humor, incorporating PG humor in the workplace can bring a greater sense of ease and joy to work interactions. Sharing a harmless joke can immediately put your co-workers at ease, and can provide a more relaxed start to a challenging meeting. Jokes, or inserting a humorous comment when appropriate, are a great way to get your team laughing and reaping those health benefits on all levels. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 75% of healthcare costs are directly related to lifestyle and, therefore, preventable. That alone could be reason enough to add more stress-releasing laughter in your life.
If you’re in a position that requires a lot of teamwork, laughter can also strengthen your team’s bond and enhance overall productivity. Sharing laughter and humor is the best part of enjoying a laugh! By spending time with co-workers, friends, and family, and taking the time to connect with the people in your life face-to-face, you get the opportunity to engage in stress-relieving activities like connection and laughter. By creating these meaningful interactions, you’ll enjoy yourself in the moment and leave the interaction feeling happier, more positive and relaxed than before.
“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” ― Erma Bombeck
If you’re the type of person who can find the humor in just about any situation, you’re already a step ahead in terms of living a happier, more relaxed life. Even in challenging times, humor is a tool that can lighten the darkest of thoughts. So the next time a challenging situation arises in your personal or work life, try and find the opportunity to make your experience a little more humorous. Perhaps there’s something about the situation you are telling yourself that may be a little ridiculous? Finding the absurd thoughts funny or amusing will allow them to not get the better of you.
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.” ― Audrey Hepburn
There is always room for more laughter in your life. Some ways to incorporate even more laughter can include:
Smiling more. Smiles are contagious and often lead to laughter!
Share more. Sharing a funny story or anecdote, or something that recently happened that was humorous to you, will get you and others laughing while also encouraging them to share!
Make a visual reminder. Having a funny photo to look at in your workspace can really go a long way. It can remind yourself to laugh and not take everything so seriously.
Say what’s on your mind! Have a funny comment to add, but aren’t sure about whether to say it or not? Do it anyway! The result usually ends in laughter.
“If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane.” ― Robert Frost
These small daily gestures are a great way to add more laughter in your life and those around you. And while having daily moments of laughter is important, some ideas to really make you laugh so much your mouth and belly hurt include the following:
Watch funny animal videos on social media.
Watch or go see a stand-up comedy routine.
Play a funny prank on a co-worker or friend.
Encourage your friends or co-workers to go out to karaoke.
Take a dance or fitness class.
Play with a pet!
Let your inner weirdo out and make funny faces.
Play with your children.
Have a group game night.
The number of opportunities for laughter are endless! No one person can laugh too much. So the next time you feel like you’re goofing off too much at the office or in your personal life, keep in mind that you’re actually making yourself healthier, more resilient and opening yourself to more opportunities for connection, wherever you are!
Ilana Tel-Oren is a freelance writer, content and project producer with a bath and body side-hustle that advocates self-love and self-care (www.stardustcoven.com). She writes content including web pages, blogs, and social media posts for clients in health and wellness, consulting and small business. She is also a contributing writer for music sites Buzzbands.la and mxdwn.