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No Laughing Matter

November 12, 2009 0 Comments

little child babyHow many times have you heard that laughter is the best medicine?  Nothing can lighten up a bad day better than a good joke, a favorite TV sitcom, or a comedy movie that puts you in stitches every time you watch it.   Sometimes just surrounding yourself with “everyday comedians” can make a long day seem much shorter.  Speaking of, when was the last time you had a really good laugh at work? That’s right – work!  After all, who can really make it through the day without a little bit of laughter. The water cooler, e-mail, lunch breaks, and happy hour are all great ways to chuckle and unwind. If you, your co-workers, or employees for that matter, are continuously stressed out, those vibes will ultimately filter out to your customers and clients.  That’s certainly not the idea or message you want to send about your business.  So before you start to laugh at such an idea, take a good look at what some of the research has to say.

  • One reported study conducted at Canadian financial institutions, found that managers who facilitated the highest level of employee performance used humor most often.  Something tells me that does not involve telling employees that they’re fired, only to then say, “Gotcha!”
  • William Fry, MD, of Stanford found that laughing 200 times burns off the same amount of calories as 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Laughing will never be a replacement for exercise, but catching a Seinfeld episode will beat 10 minutes on a rowing machine any day.
  • Another study found that after a bout of laughter, blood pressure drops to lower, healthier levels. Exercise, good eating habits, and laughter are easier, cheaper, and safer alternatives to expensive medication for decreasing blood pressure.
  • Laughter also oxygenates the blood, thereby increasing energy levels; relaxes muscles; works out all major internal systems, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  All of the benefits are cardiovascular exercise without the sweat.  Not a bad idea.
  • Lee Berk, PhD, of the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California, found that laughing can make the immune system grow stronger; the body’s T cell, natural killer cells and antibodies all show signs of increased activity.  I always knew that the sick and miserable could benefit from a daily dose of laughter.

As it turns out, laughter truly is the best medicine.  So lighten up and try to use your sense of humor more on the job.  In addition to the many health benefits a few chuckles can foster, you’ll feel happier and your co-workers, customers, and employees will sense the positive energy.  And that is no laughing matter.

Featured in May 2005 Issue of 422 Business Advisor

About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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