Humor in the Workplace – continued

Humor – The Magical Stress Reducer

There is potential for stress in every workplace.  It can build and eat away at productivity. A little levity can help reduce stress in difficult situations. Humor can bring people together and this can help refocus their energy to the task at hand.

Stress can aggravate or cause illness. It can increase absenteeism and burn-out. The good news is that humor is a positive and powerful stress reliever. Clinical Psychologist, Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D. states that “humor is a great stress reliever because it makes us feel good, and we can’t feel good and feel stress simultaneously. At the moment we experience humor, feelings like depression, anger, and anxiety dissolve.”

Dr. Sultanoff states that laughter reduces stress by activating the physiological systems including the muscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, and even the skeletal. He says, “In fact, we may even lose muscle control, as many of us have, when we laugh so hard that we fall down or wet our pants. Laughter has been labeled a jogging and juggling of the internal organs.” Laughter can make us feel physically better. After a good laugh we can feel lighter and more relaxed.

The mind is amazing, we can only have one focused thought at a time. Like a television set turned to one channel our mind has one channel on at a time. What happens with laughter is that we can mentally change the channels in our mind and go from a negative or stressful thought to another channel and that brings almost instant benefits as we move to a positive thought.

Norman Cousins called this aspect of how humor changes our thoughts a “train wreck of the mind.” Humor takes two opposing ideas and brings them together in a quick way. The way humor works is that we find that things are funny as a result of going on one track then a surprise hits us. This surprise comes in the form of a punch line in a joke. We are thinking one way and the surprise of the punch line triggers a funny bone in our mind.

Humor helps bring a mindset of creativity because we start to see things in different ways. The more we practice the sense of humor the more our mind expands and looks at the possibilities in front of us. Understanding and enjoying humor is a basic skill for creative problem solving.  A joke has a surprise ending and the mind triggers a laugh because of the incongruity of the situation.

Many problems can be solved in unexpected ways and we can creatively find solutions by thinking in different ways.  Study and development of humor can help up develop this skill.

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One Response to “Humor in the Workplace – continued”

  1. CC Says:

    Very interesting – thanks for sharing!

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