“He who laughs last, thinks slowest.” — Anonymous
The above quote is worthy of a good LOL, but it also speaks volumes about laughter and the workplace. Answer honestly: how happy and productive do you feel at work during dreadful days devoid of laughter? An inability to laugh at work can make the daily grind an excruciating process that seems to drag on at the rate of a blind, crippled turtle crawling through a pit of quicksand. Laughter isn’t merely an escape, but an asset that will help you be more productive. Below are seven reasons why laughter increases your productivity.
1. Laughter lightens your load.
“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” — Mark Twain
Workplace stress is only as bad as you allow it to become (and if it really is too much to handle, stop reading this and start hunting for a more satisfying gig). That said, look for the amusing, funny, or interesting parts of your day for a much-needed laugh that will help you lighten your load: the lower-level manager who acts as if they are royalty; that awkward moment when a customer confessed something super inappropriate to you while you could do nothing but stare in horror; those ridiculous office pranks your co-worker plays on the rest of the crew. If you can’t find something to laugh at, you’re not looking hard enough.
2. Laughter fosters a positive work environment.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” — Charlie Chaplain
People who laugh together grow together. A team is much more likely to be successful if they are comfortable enough to laugh in each other’s presence.
3. Laughter draws people together.
“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
It’s a bit difficult to remain caught-up in workplace drama when you’re so tickled by a person that you can’t keep a straight face. Forget about your differences, search for your similarities, and yuck it up. You’ll all be better off for it.
4. Laughter helps you re-charge.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” — Victor Hugo
Do me a favor and smile right now. Feel silly? Too bad. Just do it!
Now: didn’t that make you feel a little better about whatever stressful thought is living inside your head? Smile even when you don’t feel like it. Remaining in a perpetual state of upset over your problems will not make them go away. Smiling, however, will give you a much-needed breather from all of that negative thinking you’re subjecting your poor, exhausted brain to.
5. Laughter cuts through tension.
“No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds.” — Red Skelton
The stress response is a nasty state to find yourself in. Rushed breathing, sweaty palms, overwhelming inner-chatter, and an inability to think are some of the reactions you can look forward to when stress takes over. But it doesn’t have to be this way! A quick bout of laughter will stimulate your circulation and relax your muscles, reducing the stress symptoms and improving your ability to focus.
6. Laughter boosts creativity.
“Laughter is America’s most important export.” — Walt Disney
Laughter is like creativity-juice for your brain. Being able to laugh at work frees you from stress and anxiety, two things that will drain your creativity faster than you can say “bruhaha.” Free from a fear of being criticized or judged, you’ll be more likely to think of creative solutions that are innovative.
7. Laughter makes people happy to work.
“If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” — Proverb
Let’s face it: if we don’t like being at work, we’re just not going to do an amazing job. It’s hard to be interested in work that leaves us feeling apathetic, drained, or depressed. But if we work at a place where smiles and laughter are the norm, we’ll be more than happy to apply ourselves because we feel good while we’re there.
Laughter is contagious so make sure you share this with your co-workers so you can all be more productive at work. Oh, and I do love to laugh myself, so would you be kind enough to tell me a funny story from your work life in the comments?