The super-power of laughter
Last Monday was one of those days when everything seems to go in the wrong direction.
Nothing terribly serious, but… kicked-off the day receiving an email stating that an important project I was supposed to be starting soon was being significantly delayed, then learned that another proposal had been put on hold, and last but not least, a coachee canceled her session at the very last minute.
A bit frustrated, I headed to the kitchen to bake a cake (cooking and baking usually really relax me). But, guess what, I nearly burnt the cake… Not surprisingly since my body was there but my mind totally elsewhere…
My exciting morning finished with a call with other coaches and consultants, sharing their latest projects and great achievements. Ugh, I really had to breathe and center myself in order not to just leave the call making up an excuse!
I went for a walk in the park (finally a good decision!) and called a good friend of mine, just to get it all off my chest.
Before I could even start to tell her about my day, she said “Oh, Marta, I was just about to call you. Something too funny just happened and I thought about you!”. She then went on to tell me about a hilarious encounter with a common friend, and I started to laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes and I had to pause walking.
Oh, the power of a good old laugh!
I immediately realized that was EXACTLY what I needed, right there, right at that moment: a good laugh!
I felt so much better that, when she then asked about how I was doing, I was able to recognize it hadn’t been a great morning but I was ready to start the afternoon on a different note.
Where did my cheerful self go just a few minutes before? Why was I taking myself so seriously? Why a series of unfortunate coincidences were triggering all that negative self-talk about not being enough… as a coach, as a business owner, and even as a baker?
After my good laugh, I was able to see it all more clearly and in a more detached way.
I am sure my experience is not unique, and all of you have experienced situations where a good laugh completely changed your course of thoughts or interactions with others.
Laughter does not only help you in the moment to improve your mood and allow you to better handle stressful situations.
Scientific research has widely highlighted the positive effect of laughter on our immune system, cardiac health, and blood pressure.
We can easily say that Laughter is a natural medicine, with no side effects.
According to studies, we also shouldn’t underestimate the power of laughter and humor in the workplace: Alison Beard in the 2014 HBR article “Leading with Humor” has presented a series of studies showing the positive impact of humor and laughter in the office. “According to research from institutions as serious as Wharton, MIT, and London Business School, every chuckle or guffaw brings with it a host of business benefits. Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being, and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity.”
So… how about adding a bit of humor to your leadership toolkit?
In the midst of a stressful day, how can a good contagious laugh be a great gift to yourself as well as to those around you?
Let’s just try!