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Serious business – how laughter therapies can make your employees happier and your business thriving

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On May 31, 2018

In the month of may we celebrate the World Laughter Day.

While laughter admittedly makes us feel more positive, not all is known about the actual healing properties of laughter and the various techniques incorporating it in a number of therapeutic practices.

Laughter – the glue that keeps our society together

Laughter, together with speech, has proven benefits for establishing bonds and inter-individual connections in the type of social contexts that we have evolved and live in today. Even individuals with impaired perception abilities instinctively laugh when the right trigger is found. In fact, laughter is not a reaction only for humans – other social animals, like the grate apes for example, do too laugh.

The curative effect of laughing

For centuries, philosophers and medical practitioners have explored and concluded on the healing properties of laughter. Nowadays, with the development of scientific methods, there have been numerous studies to test and explore the exact mechanisms of the beneficial effects laughter might have on our health. One study (1) showed that laughing alone involves at least four distinct areas of the brain. When such a substantial part of our brain is invested in the act of laughing, it comes as no surprise that positively affecting these areas of the brain can have a general beneficial effect on the rest of our body and psych. Several controlled studies have shown that laughing can have detectable positive influence on some conditions affecting cardiovascular health (2), cancer, psychiatric disorders and terminal care outcomes (3).

Laughter has its function in the workplace

While scientists are working out the exact ways laughing contributes to other medical therapies in healing out body faster or helping take pain easier, practitioners are putting their heads together to involve laughter as a therapeutic methodology in the workplace, aiming to help people be efficient and productive while keeping the stress levels in check. Stress has been shown to be the main reason in almost half of the reported cases for quitting ones’ job (4) and individuals under prolonged or extreme stress at the workplace report more than 50% higher health care expenditures (5).

One 2007 study actually set out to establish the benefits of laughter interventions in the workplace (6). It showed that just 15-minutes/day laughter interventions brought a significant improvement of the self-reported efficacy of employees. Other similar studies in various cultural settings around the world followed with similar conclusions.

Investing in laughter therapies for the good of your own business

So why isn’t work-place laughter therapy a thing? Admittedly, work is a serious thing, but is it too serious to ignore the needs of the employees? Isn’t investing in 15 minutes a day of laughter sessions for your employees a worthy investment, if it will bring savings from having to constantly recruit and train the new recruits due to high stress-related employee turnover? Some big corporations like AmBev, L’oreal and Microsoft and smaller successful businesses seem to think the investment is worth it. If you are an employer seeking to improve the well being of your employees in a rather cost-effective way, there are multiple ways to involve laughter (7). And if you are an employee who thinks your boss’ approach can use some positive vibes approaches – forward them this article as a starting reading material.

 

 

 

(1) Laughing brain

(2) CVD and laughter

(3) Clinical evidence for laughter benefits – review

(4) Stats on stress at work

(5) CDC reports on stress and health

(6) Laughs for work

(7) Humor at work

 

Last modified: May 31, 2018

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Serious business – how laughter therapies can make your employees happier and your business thriving

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