Childhood joy and why it’s good to giggle
Such simple things give children such enormous joy. They look at washing up bottles and see a rocket and when they are given the empty container their joy knows no bounds. Or when they find something incredibly funny (often for no reason or when it involves an adult hurting themselves). They giggle uncontrollably for ages and its infectious as we join in amused by their amusement. I don’t know about you but when I’ve been around to witness this behaviour and join in, my whole day seems sunnier and the rest of the day goes much better.
Business can be such a serious matter that telling executives that’s it’s good to giggle may seem at odds with the corporate world. However, there is more than enough scientific proof that laughter is good for you and I would argue it’s good for business too. Most of us know that laughter releases endorphins that are the feel good hormones but did you know that a good giggle is also great for the immune system and increases your pain threshold?
A study at Oxford University in 2011 found that laughter increases our pain threshold.
So, watching re-runs of Only Fools and Horses may actually help you cope with the stress of the 21st century workplace.
A good giggle for business productivity
Children find the simplest things funny and it is this capacity for spontaneous pleasure that I think is a lesson for us adults and the corporate world. We can become very caught up in the serious business of making money, so much so we lose sight of the ridiculous nature of life. Plus, laughter and a good laugh are very infectious so it becomes a shared experience. One of the problems of the adult world is feeling isolated and the evolution of the nuclear family and people moving around the country for work has increased this feeling of isolation for many.
Having a good giggle can create a bond with others and improve our capacity for getting on with the serious business of work. The benefit of increasing technology has meant dreary dull tasks have been replaced by machines but we also need to be careful that human communication does not also decrease. A shared laugh breaks down a lot of barriers and can increase the sense of camaraderie between workers.
A good giggle policy for business
Children’s capacity for laughter is a lesson for the rest of us. Laughter simplifies things, it is a basic human reaction without complication. Apart from apes and rats, we humans are the only mammals that laugh, is that not another aspect of our evolution? Not taking ourselves too seriously is a healthy approach to life we would do well to adopt. I’m not talking about the polite smile we force when someone tells a bad joke but the guffaw that explodes when we see something silly, ridiculous or just plain daft.
Salespeople are told to smile when they are on the telephone as it can be “heard” and felt in their voices by the person at the other end. Shared laughter is a pleasurable experience that stays with you long after the good giggle is over. When we are happy we work more efficiently and mundane tasks seem less taxing. Still not convinced that laughter has its place in business?
According to research from institutions as serious as Wharton, MIT, and London Business School, every chuckle or guffaw brings with it a host of business benefits
The same research shows that Babies laugh, on average, 400 times a day; people over 35, only 15.
Let yourself have a good giggle
While blue jokes in the office are not to be encouraged, we should, perhaps, learn to take ourselves less seriously. Learn a lesson from a child’s approach to the world.
We ought to laugh more. Get more enjoyment out of the simple things in our lives. At least once a day sit down, think about 1 thing that brought you joy/satisfaction/happiness and then smile – if you can, laugh out loud. The feel good chemicals that then zip around your body are priceless and make other tasks seem effortless.