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We are laughing less, and it’s not amusing!

Psychologists have been studying humour for decades and have not quite cracked it yet. Explaining humour is a herculean task because it is influenced by complex psychological, philosophical and cultural factors.

But, leaving aside the complexity of how humour works, I personally think that there is nothing better than a good laugh. It lowers stress levels, helps us look at life from a different perspective, makes us socially appealing, strengthens our memory and even boosts our immune system, and these are but a few of the benefits.

Humour is essential in all aspects of our lives, but it plays an even more critical role in our workplaces. And past empirical research has suggested that there are several benefits of humour in the professional or workspace.

But my point is that if humour has so many benefits, why are we not laughing at work anymore?

The authors of  Humour Seriously say that humour starts plummeting from the age of 21 when people enter the workforce. People start taking themselves more seriously.

Well, this is no laughing matter!

But I would like to share a few humour-related observations that I have made in my professional life!

1. Levity at work helps

With all the job losses, shutting down of businesses, and professional and personal stress caused by COVID-19, it is more important than ever for us to laugh at work and with our colleagues.

study by Talbot and Lumden showed that continuous stress increases the probability of burnout, work withdrawal and health problems. But on the other hand, humour helps to reduce burnout. It is a coping strategy. It enables people to deal with difficult situations at work, release tension, regain perspective on their jobs, and positively change their perception of their environment.

And this is so true! I find that whenever I end a meeting with a joke or share a few minutes of laughter with my colleagues, I go back to my desk with a fresh mind, a renewed feeling and a spring in my step. 

2. Being humourless and being professional are quite different

For some reason, most people are apprehensive about laughing at work. Is it because they think that having a good laugh is unprofessional, and professional etiquette entails being serious at work? Or maybe it is because they are stressed or pressed for time? I am yet to find the answer to that one.

But, in reality, humour can be a great tool in an office setting to reduce hostility, improve morale and communicate things that would typically be difficult to communicate. We are not robots, and as humans we need the pauses and the laughs!

Yes, some days are packed with humour and other days go by without a laugh. I find that on the humour-filled days my work feels lighter. It has a way of making me more productive, less stressed, and more importantly it makes me feel like I can take on any challenge thrown my way. And when I feel that way, I tend to spread positivity to my colleagues as well. This is because humour allows me to be human, and that in itself is less stressful.

3. Humour inspires

Everyone needs to be inspired every now and then.

And humour can definitely help with this! Studies show that positive emotional states like happiness and laughter produce more dopamine which, apart from making you feel good, also opens up the learning centres in the brain and enables more neural connections. This, in turn, helps with thinking creatively, problem-solving and boosts working memory.

But although psychology helps understand the effect of humour on our brains, I have made more modest, everyday observations with my team. For example, I have noticed that when my team members have a sense of humour, more creative ideas fly around. Why? Perhaps because people do not mind sharing the wackiest ideas when they feel safe. Positive humour creates that safe space for creative thinking and ideas.

And so, I think we should all consider laughing a lot more at work! Everyone has a funny bone, both literally and figuratively! And no matter how small your funny bone is it can always be developed!

So, how do you go about activating your funny bone?

Here are a few things that you could do to build a sense of humour:

1. Make laughing a habit

An excellent way to start this habit is to laugh at yourself. Besides always having something to laugh about, it will help you to get over most daily stress. For example, it helps me to be goofy occasionally and not take myself so seriously all the time.

2. Try to see the funny side in everything

You can choose to be pessimistic and grouchy or find the funny side of just about anything. If you give it a chance, humour can positively change your perceptions of life experiences. I try to remember that life is not a series of serious events, and nobody is stopping me from laughing at anything.

3. Seek out situations that make you laugh

Spend time with people and things that you find funny – stand up comedies, TV shows, movies, etc. — these can go a long way in helping you to develop your sense of humour. I love to spend time with humorous friends who make me laugh- they are the best kind of friends!

Funnily, I have come to the end of what I wanted to say.

So, let’s bring humour back into our lives and reap its benefits, especially now, when we need it the most!

If you loved this article and have thoughts to share or even questions to ask, do get in touch with us at https://www.ormaxworld.com/. We would love to hear from you!

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