Lightening Life With A Bit of Laughter
- Humour – when we are under pressure and feeling stressed our sense of humour often flies out of the window especially when relationships are strained. In fact to me the level of humour and laughter in an organisation, team, family or between friends is a good indicator as to how happy and constructive the relationship is, regardless of the pressures that you are under. I used to lose my sense of humour when stressed, which definitely affected my relationships in and out of work. Now my ability to laugh in the face of adversity (I find it more constructive than crying or shouting) is a great benefit to me, and those around me.
‘I live in a constant endeavour to fence against the infirmities of ill health, and other evils of life, by mirth.’ Laurence Stern 18th century writer and clergyman
- The benefits of laughter – laughter has now become a serious business, with academics and medical professionals exploring the benefits of laughter and fun in our lives. These benefits can be in the form of: increased energy, motivation, creativity, and if you believe the new research, can lead to faster recovery times. You will also find that appropriate humour helps to build and maintain rapport with other people.
How will having more laughter in your life assist you?
‘Whoever is happy will make others happy too.’ Anne Frank
- What stops us from having fun? – Whether it is at work or in our families some people can fall into the trap of thinking that as they are grown up now, they need to be responsible and can’t waste time having fun or a joke. But without humour life can be very dry and quite frankly boring. If you fall into this category, think about the benefits of laughter and how it will help you to deal with the serious stuff of life. Through working with different people I have noticed that people doing jobs involving the most serious of situations often have the wickedest sense of humour as it is often an antidote to what they deal with every day.
‘We have to laugh. Because laughter, we already know, is the first evidence of freedom.’ Rosario Castellanos
- Bring a bit of lightness into life – think of ways of creating or drawing into your life some lightness and laughter. I work from an office at home with my associates dotted around the country and therefore I always enjoy it when family, friends or colleagues email me cartoons or jokes. If you are stuck for ideas or you are having a sense of humour crisis…
- Indulge in nostalgia - Think back to times when you have really enjoyed yourself – this might have been while doing something you enjoy, or it could have been a moment in time when you have had a good joke and laugh with colleagues or friends. Remember how good you felt at the time, feel the energy and buzz that you got from it. Bring that great feeling into the present moment
- Plant triggers in your environment – These could be messages, cartoons, photos or anything that make you smile, laugh or feel good about yourself and life. These can act as reminders to lighten up
- Choose playful friends – I have surrounded myself with friends and colleagues who although can be serious at times, also can be very playful. I meet regularly with my colleagues for very long lunches, where there is a lot of laughter amongst the more serious discussions that take place
‘Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.’ Roger Van Oech
- Allow others time to have fun – I have met many managers who get irritated or stressed out when their staff have a joke and some fun. They worry about the work that is not getting done, rather than realising that as adults, people will have a laugh and then get back to work, probably feeling more energised and alert for having had some light relief. The times when this does not happen is when managers treat their staff like children, telling them to ‘stop larking around and get back to work’ and then the staff start to rebel and become subversive in their humour, seeing how much they can get away with. And most of this happens unconsciously. I also see this happening within families and marriages.
‘Being grown up means assuming responsibility for yourself, for your children – here’s the big curve – for your parents. In other words, you get to stay up later, but you want to go to sleep earlier!’ Wendy Wasserstein
- Laughter to diffuse situations – I have noticed on workshops that sometimes laughter is used to either diffuse situations or when people are feeling uncomfortable about the subject matter. Rather than being concerned about this I find that having had a laugh and released the tension we can then turn our attention back to the task in hand. I was on a workshop in January and one of the trainers, Stephen Gilligan, gave a number of examples where he has skilfully used humour in a wise way to defuse particularly challenging situations. This does take skill and sensitivity to do, but can be very useful.
‘Good humour is a philosophical state of mind; it seems to say to Nature that we take her no more seriously than she takes us.’ Ernest Reman
Want more Inspiration? If you want any support in Lightening Life With A Bit of Laughter either for yourself or your team, we can offer 1:1 support or group workshops to assist you in doing this. Just call 01865 377334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to speak in confidence. For more information about Grovelands visit our website: www.grovelands.org.uk
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