Are you suffering from ‘Laughter Drought?’ …First the science bit
Robert Provine, the world’s leading laugh scientist (What a great job! Must put it on my list for my next time around), found that babies laugh 300 times a day and adults only 20 times.
This month’s Harvard Business Review tells us that a recent study of Gallup data of the U.S. found that we laugh less on weekdays than we do on weekends. Do our day jobs turn off the “hahaha” tap ?
Eric Tsytsylin, Stanford MBA reveals that ‘Laughter is productivity’s greatest ally” and also tells us working adults are “ in the midst of a laughter drought”.
Bell leadership Institute found that two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humour. (As an aside, according to an International Coaching Federation study, humour is also one of the key elements that clients look for when choosing a coach).
Could it be we are trying not to crack the perfect mask we hide behind ? I mean who wants to take the risk of using humour when it may be seen as frivolous or immature or “unprofessional“? In this case, I am most definitely and positively imperfect – I love laughing and the team of people I am lucky enough to work with all have a great sense of humour. Whether we repeat things Joey said from very old Friends episodes or we trip over our own words, there is always plenty to laugh about.
So what are the practical things we can do to put “funny” back on the agenda?
- Share the joke. Employees feel more motivated and engaged by leaders who share humour.
- Engage in some fun-loving behaviour. Ever tried a group singing lesson? Can you sing? That really doesn’t matter
- Watch funny Youtube videos together (keep it clean!)
- Join or set up a ‘laughter group’ – there are over 6000 worldwide
- Laughter Yoga
- Stop taking yourself so seriously – have a laugh at the imperfections (we all have them)
Check out John Cleese reporting from a laughter club in India
Warning !!! People who take themselves too seriously are not taken seriously by others .
What are the benefits (way too many to mention all of them here) ?
- 15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories ( my type of workout)
- 10 Minutes of laughter can help with chronic pain
- It can lead to more positive emotions which improves your overall wellness and health
- Laughter boosts your immune system
- Connects you to others
- Increases your levels of happiness
- Reduces certain stress hormones
- Some research points to humour in learning can improve test scores
If you were to ask me what makes me laugh, I immediately find myself feeling like a bold child about to reveal a naughty secret. Don’t know why that is, it could be that some things that make me laugh are naughty (at other people’s expense) and some are nice. I find human behaviour mostly hilarious ( that includes my own). We have to accept that humour is subjective, we’ve all been there. The moment that very awkward silence descends and the tumbleweed rolls past after you delivered what you believed to be the funniest thing since George Bush said “We Bushes cry easily”.
Remember laughter is infectious – go catch it and spread it.
Help with the laughter drought, tell us what makes you laugh
Be POSITIVELY IMPERFECT
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