Celebrate Humor Month.
You’ve heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.” While utilized as a common phrase, there are actually many health benefits from improved mental wellbeing to increased productivity and stress relief. Encourage your employees to try these tips and tricks this month to celebrate National Humor Month.
Science of Laughter.
So let’s break it down. Laughter has zero side effects and is provided naturally — laughter usually happens very fast. After your senses are stimulated by what you perceive to be funny, your nervous system tells your brain (cerebral cortex) and then your brain interprets what it’s just heard. The emotional system releases chemicals that improve mood, and your muscular system causes the burst of laughter!
“Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.” — Thomas Mann
Health Benefits of Laughter.
Laughter is a part of our universal language of basic emotions. Some benefits include:
- Decreased stress levels through decreased stress-hormones (cortisol and epinephrine).
- Increased health-enhancing hormones (endorphins and neurotransmitters).
- Reduced tension to help us cope and to solve problems.
- Increased tolerance for pain.
- Increased muscle relaxation.
- Improved sleep quality.
- Strengthened immune system by increased activity of the natural killer cells (T-lymphocytes).
- Improved vascular function by lowering blood pressure and providing cardiovascular conditioning.
- Opportunity for personal connections during challenging circumstances.
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” — Charles Dickens
Benefits of Laughter on Mental Health.
Laughing can help rewire our mental space and improve our daily operations. The joy that laughter brings to our day-to-day can impact our creativity and our perspective. This allows us to think differently about our outlook on life.
- Creates hope. Laughter allows you to see difficult circumstances in a new way; not so much as a threat but as a challenge by relaxing negative emotions. It’s difficult to feel anxious, sad or angry when you are laughing, thereby reducing depression and anxiety.
- Creates better relationships. Laughs are contagious, and giggles even more so. Laughter and humor helps others in our world to laugh more, creating relationships.
- Improves mood. Laughter decreases stress levels by decreasing hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, which reduces tension to help improve mood. This also has the benefit of improving quality of relationships.
- Keeps things in perspective. Avoid the danger of taking yourself, your beliefs, or your life too seriously.
- Promotes creativity. Humor releases tension and causes a person to relax, which is an essential component of creativity.
- Creates better working environment. Humor, smiles, laughter — are all communication opportunities that could be exchanged between employees and leadership. Laughter helps combat stress and promotes worker relaxation. This funny enough, increases efficiency and productivity.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” — Albert Einstein
Bringing Laughter to Work.
Although humor is subjective, it can work at the office. Examples of humor might be sharing self-deprecating stories between peers. While some teasing among long-term colleagues is okay, be sure to proceed with care as discriminatory comments are obviously inappropriate. Consider these guidelines for humor at work.
- It’s not whether or not you’re funny, it’s what kind of funny you are.
- Cleverness is good enough sometimes.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. It’s a signal that all is okay.
- Laughter can be disarming and relieve tension around stuff that everyone’s worried about.
- Consider that it’s about being lighthearted.
Babies laugh on average 400 times a day. Yet adults over 35 laugh only 15 times a day on average. According to Gallup, Americans laugh significantly less on weekdays than weekends. Could we conclude that this is because of work? If so, try these tactics for adding more laughter to your week.
- Smile more! Smiling, like laughter, is contagious.
- Watch a good comedy movie or television show. Include friends if possible!
- Laugh even when there is no real reason.
- Play with a pet or children.
- Make time for fun activities.
- Take a laughter yoga class.
For more information and ways to celebrate National Humor Month visit humormonth.com.
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