Laughing out Loud - now this occurs when we are having a great time or hear something funny. Also, loud or not, laughter is a pleasant expression. But who could have thought it is so huge that we actually have a day for it- World Laughter Day.
Yes, you heard that right. There is a day dedicated to laughter.
And this year, it is on May 2nd - I know the battle of Hogwarts probably comes to your mind with this date. But this time, along with Lord Voldemort’s demise, the big event of World Laughter Day is in line waiting to be celebrated.
As we know, companies are prioritizing employee health, these days. This is why employers are implementing various corporate wellness programs in the workplace. And laughing can very well be a part of those initiatives for laughter ensures good health.
So, this world laughter day, introduce your employees to a world of wellbeing through humor and smiles. And, with the gloominess surrounding the ongoing Covid-19 trend, having a good laugh is what everyone looks for.
What is World Laughter Day?
I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing. – Dr. Madan Kataria
Now, laughing does feel good, doesn’t it? So, to honor that nice feeling, the first Sunday of May is celebrated as World Laughter Day to encourage laughter worldwide. This is the day where the universal language of laughter unites the entire world.
The history of this day is, however, not that old. Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide laughter yoga movement in Mumbai, India created World Laughter Day in 1998. Also known as the laughter guru, he was inspired to start the laughter yoga movement based on a facial feedback hypothesis.
The term looks quite complicated, doesn’t it? Don’t worry; it’s not.
Facial feedback hypothesis is nothing but the idea that a person’s facial expression has a massive impact on his emotions. I guess that's where the “Laughter is the best medicine” comes from. Meaning in the current times of unlimited work stress and struggle, one smile sways everything away.
Especially in a work environment, employees do not even have time to catch a breath, let alone laugh. In such a situation, employers can act as happy pills and give them reasons to laugh for a minute or two.
That’s not all bad now, is it?
So World Laughter day is all about promoting a feeling of positivity, further leading to physical and mental wellness. Also, raising awareness and displaying positive manifestations for world peace are other goals of this day.
Building up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship is one of the primary purposes of World Laughter Day.
Such a cruel world to live in, with children laughing 300 times a day while an adult laughs only around 5 times.
Benefits of Laughter
World Laughter Day is often celebrated in public places, gathering everyone in unison of laughter. And it does not confine the celebration to just one country.
In fact the Laughter Yoga Movement has led to the formation of laughter clubs in over 105 countries. These laughter clubs promote wellness through practicing simpler laughing techniques frequently.
The science of laughing and its impact on the body is called Gelotology.
Now, all of us are working somewhere or the other, and it is inevitable. And it would not be wrong to say that the present work culture is turning us into machines. But at the end of the day, loving our jobs is very important. However, not everyone can do that.
Having a good time at work is somewhat less complicated if one is willing to. And amidst all the work stress, who would discard a deep-rooted belly laugh? Also, laughter helps us to cope with pressure and thus comes with healing benefits.
Do you know why the laughter sounds are "Ha-ha-ha" and "Ho-Ho-Ho"?- Because when you laugh, your diaphragm spasms.
1. Develops a Sense of wellbeing
The most common benefit is the feel-good factor. We laugh; we feel optimistic. And, when we feel better, we tend to spread this positivity around. This eventually lights the mood of our colleagues, too, for laughter is contagious.
2. Activates T-cells
I am not sure most people are aware of a T-cell. Now, not to confuse with a T-Rex, t-cells are specialized cells in the immune system. Laughing activates them and helps the body fight off sickness. So, next time someone feels unwell at work, just ask them to add some giggling to the routine.
3. Boosts Cardiac Health
There might be employees unable to perform other types of physical activities due to injury or illness. Or some might not be willing for doing activities takes time. So, laughter being one of the most manageable cardio workouts would be a cakewalk for them. Also, it has no place constraint.
In fact, laughing gets the heart pumping, and if one has a knack for losing weight, burning calories also falls into one of its USPs.
4. Tones the Abs
Currently, burgers and pizzas are the coolest kids in the house. But consumption of these foods adds to the trend of growing tummy size. The rate of how much we eat junk food is directly proportional to our stomach size. Because of this, I, being a junk food lover, still regret every bite I take from that large piece of chicken wing.
Smile has the power to burn your fat. If you want to slim down, keep laughing.
And amidst the work rush, employees often miss out on healthy eating food habits. Instead, they go for those unhealthy bites. But worry not, there is a solution.
Laughing can help one stay healthy and toned without having to give in to the guilt. So, when we laugh, the abs muscles keep on expanding and contracting, which leads to a toned stomach. See, now your employees no longer have to feel the guilt. Instead, they can just laugh and have a good time.
5. Depletes Stress Hormone Levels
Stress and anxiety are constant companions in modern work culture. They never leave us alone, thus creating a blockage to productivity. Laughter can, therefore, get into the scene and engage them somewhere else.
Sounds good, right? Because it helps in the reduction of stress hormone levels leading to better immunity.
6. Reduces Blood Pressure
Heart attack rates have not been decreasing lately. But laughter can even help with that. Laughing lowers the blood pressure. One thing leads to another, and with this, the risk of heart attacks or strokes decreases manifold. So, let our heart say thanks to this feel-good tool called laughter.
7. Releases Endorphins
When we laugh, endorphins are released in the body. And this helps with easing chronic pain together with making one feel good for they are the natural painkillers our bodies produce.
During the peace march carried out on a laughter day by the laughter club members, all chant “Ho Ho, Ha-Ha-Ha” with some clapping and dancing.
World Laughter Day in the Workplace
Incorporating laughter and fun in the organizational culture is not that easy as it seems. It usually depends on the kind of workplace culture you have.
Whether your office is a place where even the slightest smile can wreak havoc, or is it a healthy one? A healthy work environment is where employees can be a little open and have the liberty to joke and laugh a little.
Now, who does not want to laugh with their colleagues once in a while? Especially on Mondays, where the thought of working for the entire week is enough to drive people crazy. In such a situation, a bit of laughter here and there is good for the mood and health.
Besides combating mental stress and cardiovascular diseases, laughter has other health benefits, like decreasing sugar levels and better blood vessel functioning.
So, when executing corporate wellness programs, employers should add in some laughter session initiatives on the occasion of the World Laughter Day. Seeing that a happy employee is also a productive one, an office filled with smiles and laughter, is what every organization should aim for.
Ideas to implement at Work
World Laughter Day or not, I think people should laugh on a daily basis instead of waiting for that one Sunday of May. So, here I present few ways how you can add some laughter to the dull work routine of your employees-
1. Laughter Breaks
Stress is the epitome of work. And the more your employees are stressed, the less likely it is for them to add to the creativity and focus.
So make them socialize and connect over a session of laughter on a typical workday. And see the change. Laughing with colleagues helps in nurturing an environment of playfulness.
2. Gradient Laughter
Gradient laughter is a technique, really. We can call it an unstructured exercise that starts with silence and results in laughter.
Momentum is built post which the laugh becomes natural and infectious. This kind of laughter provides oxygen to the brain to work at optimal levels and relaxes the individuals at the same time.
So what are you waiting for? Make your employees practice gradient laughter at work.
3. Humor in Daily Interactions
Light up the mood of your employees every day by including humor in daily communications. Humorous emails can be sent to the team in the morning daily. And these emails can contain jokes, memes among other things.
Thus, such emails would let the staff start the day off on the right foot with easing stress and tension. That way, the brain cells will also work up to an efficient level.
4. Laughing Activities
Exercise is an activity we often forget to do. With the sedentary lifestyles in trend, only a handful of people are motivated to work out or go on walks and runs, for that matter.
Moreover, stress contributes to that. However, laughing is a natural exercise. One does not need to dress up in gym wear or a pair of tracks, and it is relatively convenient for the lazy office population.
To make world laughter day a little interesting, just start a group of laughing challenges and offer fitness rewards to your employees for their participation. Doing so will enhance employee engagement as well as employee wellbeing.
5. Joke jar
World Laughter Day can be celebrated in a subtle manner too. Grab a jar and ask all your employees to write a joke and put it inside the jar. Ask them to do it every time they think of a joke. Then during lunch sessions, gather everyone and start picking up jokes. Everybody laughs. Simple.
We already knew laughter is something we ought to practice. But who knew it came with so many added benefits?
And keeping your employees happy and all laughing does not seem that bad now, does it?
So do not wait for World Laughter Day to induce humor at work. Instead, be a good boss and trigger that laugh that is toned down among your workforce.