Last week I attended a laughter workshop (no sniggering at the back please). I went because it was hosted by Berghind Joseph, hosts of last years excellent, fun and learning packed David Zinger session, I enjoy a good laugh, and I am curious.
During my time with BT, one of the questions I was repeatedly asked by bamboozled and often miserable colleagues was, ‘how do you manage to have so much fun at work?’ I was never entirely sure how to respond to this question. I simply chose, for the most part, to enjoy what I was doing, and I’ve never underestimated the power of a smile.
So what did I learn from the session?
Kids laugh approximately 400 times a day, adults about 15 times
OK this is a sweeping generalisation, and I’m sure there are kids picking their way through rubbish piles in Cambodia, Peru and other places for whom even the average adult figure is a distant, seemingly unreachable goal, but this stat just left me thinking, cheer up you miserable gits!
The physiological benefits of laughter work even when the laughter is forced
You can basically fool the body, even if you can’t fool the brain. This made me shudder a little, even though we were told that some forms of yoga and other exercise use forced laughter to improve our physiology. A big thing about laughter is its spontaneity, surely? Apparently not, but as we were invited to force a laugh, I felt a little creeped out. We were informed about circulation benefits which I agree are physical, but all the stuff about endorphins releasing to aid the immune system and pain relief, engaging both sides of the brain to release stress…well that’s all brain stuff, right? And I found the use of an old fashioned car horn as a means to grab our attention somewhat clown like. I don’t like clowns, do you?
Laughter leads to longevity
Laughter helps us build better, stronger, longer relationships. I thought of my darling Carole who has tolerated me as her husband for nigh on twenty years now. She laughs at me a lot, so I guess there’s something in this I have two friends, Adrian and Curly, who I’ve known for years and years and years, and it’s true that whenever we see each other it’s not long before tears of laughter are rolling.
I left the workshop feeling good about Berghind Joseph for putting on another challenging event, and perhaps a little relieved that I’d reacted in the way I had. Yes a happy workplace is a better workplace, and for me it has to come naturally. How about you – got any good jokes?