Well, it’s FriYAY today. I mention that specifically, because let’s face it; everyone at work tends to be a little less stressed on Fridays. It’s really no secret to why that is, because for a lot of folks, that marks the end of the work week. However, with today’s crazy world spinning faster than ever, our 24/7 365 workforce doesn’t always get that true Friday experience. So, it’s my attempt today to equip you all with a Friday mind set every day of the work week. Yes, it’s possible, and here’s how you do it.
We have a pretty special week coming up in April. I’m referring to “National Laugh at Work Week”, which takes place April 1st thru April 7th. It’s obvious that this stemmed from April 1st being “April Fool’s Day” however; its message is loud and clear, and full of research to back it. You see, the key to having a Friday mind set is laughter at work.
Laughter increases productivity, teamwork, employee retention, and job satisfaction. It’s also amazing for your health. It actually lowers your blood pressure. Just by doing that alone will reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack. Since we’re going down the road of health benefits, let’s point out what the drug call “Laughter” can do for you. Reduces stress hormone levels; by reducing the level of stress hormones, you’re simultaneously cutting the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones may result in higher immune system performance. Just think, laughing along as a co-worker tells a funny joke can relieve some of the day’s stress and help you reap the health benefits of laughter. Improves cardiac health; Laughter is a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. So, laugh your heart into health. Boosts T-cells; T-cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on; add chuckling to your illness prevention plan. Triggers the release of endorphins; Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over. Produces a general sense of well-being; Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh, and live longer!
So, that’s my soapbox moment as far as what laughter can do for your health. I’m no doctor, but I’m willing to bet if we all laugh a little more, and not take everything so serious, we might end up enjoying this thing we call life a little longer and healthier. It’s always important to take care of yourself, and now that you know the health benefit, let’s dive into some more science and strategy of how you’re going to accomplish this.
First of all, smile. A smile and a laugh aren’t the same thing, but they do live in the same neighborhood. Be sure to smile at simple pleasures — the sight of kids playing, a loved one or friend approaching, the successful completion of a task, the witnessing of something amazing or humorous. Smiles indicate that stress and the weight of the world haven’t overcome you. If your day isn’t marked by at least a few dozen, then you need to explore whether you are depressed or overly stressed.
Recall several of the most embarrassing moments in your life. Then find the humor in them. Now practice telling stories describing them in a humorous way. It might take a little exaggeration or dramatization, but that’s what good storytelling is all about. By revealing your vulnerable moments and being self-deprecating, you open yourself up much more to the humorous aspects of life.
Anytime something annoying and frustrating occurs, turn it on its head and find the humor. Sure, you can be angry at getting splashed with mud, stepping in dog poop, or inadvertently throwing a red towel in with the white laundry. In fact, that is probably the most normal response. But it doesn’t accomplish anything other than to put you in a sour mood. Better to find a way to laugh at life’s little annoyances.
When a person offends you or makes you angry, respond with humor rather than hostility. For instance, if someone is always late, say, “Well, I’m glad you’re not running an airline.” Life is too short to turn every personal affront into a battle. However, if you are constantly offended by someone in particular, yes, take it seriously and take appropriate action. But for occasional troubles, or if nothing you do can change the person or situation, take the humor response.
So, I’ve thrown some things at you, you’re welcome. My point to all of this is humor is part of your professional skill set, just as much as it’s a part of your personal life. I like to talk about emotional intelligence a lot, as some of you may already know. Well, this is a big part of it. It can make a break the work environment. If you’re successful, you’ll quickly find that every day of the work week can feel like FriYAY, I assure you of that. Have a great weekend everyone!!