How good are you with laughing, especially when the going gets tough? I hope you rated yourself as outstanding because such an attitude will smooth troubled waters your entire career.

No less than America’s most respected statesman, Abraham Lincoln, understood the power of laughter when he said: Gentlemen [and Ladies], why don’t you laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me day and night, if I did not laugh I should die, and you need this medicine as much as I do.

Why is this counsel so relevant to you today? He made this assertion amid the turbulence and uncertainties of the Civil War!

It is hard to imagine you ever working in a business climate where you face a more daunting, or emotionally charged state of affairs with such far-reaching consequences as did President Lincoln during this period in our country’s history.

Research confirms with rich, quantifiable data that when laughter bubbles up from within endorphins are released, which promotes an overall sense of well-being. You see, the moment you laugh out loud, the incapacitating cloud that has held your brain hostage lifts aiding you to transform feelings of overwhelm into solution thinking. Let’s explore how laughter works:

  • Relationship Ally: Laughing with others is a significant relationship connector and healer. Shared laughter mends resentments, unifies even in the most challenging of situations, overrides defensive responses, and births a universal perspective.
  • Liveliness Inflator: Overstress is an energy killer leading to you unknowingly wasting time. Laughter is the perfect counteraction to these emotions as it releases you from inertia and recharges your focus to generating results.
  • Productivity Booster: One of the fastest ways to breed a relaxed, engaged, and creative work environment is through humor. Research by VU University Amsterdam found teams that tell more jokes and laugh together…. led them to perform better on a number of measures, such as hitting goals and improving efficiency. The researchers surmised that humor could improve team interaction by triggering positive forms of communication. 
  • Feeling Neutralizer: It doesn’t matter how optimistic you are occasionally everyone experiences demoralizing periods at work. Laughter ousts the harmful emotions of anger, distress, frustration, stress, or helplessness. Likewise, it triggers a transformation within you, so that you can access constructive outlooks such as joy, hope, happiness, satisfaction, and courage—all leading to action. What’s even better, humor is contagious, so you also encourage those around you simultaneously. How efficient!

What if you, your team or your company encourages laughter as a response to overstress?

You’d probably discover like one study of 2,500 employees found 81 percent believe a fun working environment would make them more productive; 93 percent said that laughing on the job helps to reduce work-related stress. A further 55 percent said they would take less pay to have more fun at work.*

Or what if you begin hosting a series of lunch hour funny, chuckle-filled YouTube videos?

You’d experience the constructive aftereffects of watching such movies or videos lasts anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, according to Lee Berk, Associate Professor at Loma Linda School of Medicine.

Isn’t the incorporation of laughter and jokes and fun an effortless, low-cost, entertaining way to combat the effects of overwork in your organization?

*Paper titled Humor in the Workplace: Anecdotal Evidence Suggests Connection to Employee Performance.



*Paper titled Humor in the Workplace: Anecdotal Evidence Suggests Connection to Employee Performance.

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