Happy Diverse Team Laughing

A Laugh A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

March 31, 2023
Inside HR
Health & Wellness
Read time: 2 mins

I have long been a believer in the healing powers of laughter. Few things bring me greater immediate satisfaction than having a good laugh at myself or having the opportunity to bring laughter to someone else. So you can imagine my glee when I found that April is National Humor Month and April 1-7 is National Laugh at Work Week!

Years of research have shown that laughter leads to positive health outcomes–providing both short and long-term effects. The Mayo Clinic reports that the immediate benefits include stress reduction, enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs, and muscles, as well as the endorphins released by your brain. Long-term benefits include improving the immune system, pain relief, increased personal satisfaction, and mood improvement. It has also been reported that humor enhances memory retention. When relevant humor is paired with a fact, recollection is improved.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs even includes Laughter Yoga as a beneficial practice. Laughter Yoga practitioners assert that you don’t have to feel the urge to laugh to derive benefits. Many practitioners often begin their practice by pretending to laugh, with authentic laughter emerging sometime during the session. You can find out more about Laughter Yoga here.

The social aspects of humor cannot be discounted. Laughter brings people together and can be as contagious as a yawn. It creates positive communication between people, and when used correctly, it can break the tension of a tricky conversation. Humor is essential to empathy and compassion, and our ability to laugh at ourselves allows us to forgive ourselves (and our inevitable foibles) and, by extension, forgive others.

Statistics show that humor at work benefits employers. In one study of more than 2,500 employees, 81% reported that they believe a fun working environment would make them more productive. It has also been shown to increase morale, enhance leadership skills, increase the acceptance of new ideas, and improve decision-making—all good reasons to plan some laughter-provoking activities in your workplace.

So, find something to laugh about every day! Whether it be a giggle, a guffaw, or a full-on belly laugh—you may laugh your way out of a visit to the doctor’s office!