World Laughter Day is this Sunday, May 3.
We celebrate World Laughter Day by laughing. It’s that simple!
Even fake laughter will do. No joke. You can “fake it ’til you make it” with laughter. Real or not, laughing is aerobic and exercises underused muscles.
In this way, laughter is a symptom and a cure. People show enjoyment through laughter, but forced laughter also has spectacular benefits. Eventually, you’ll be laughing naturally.
According to experts, laughter is an indispensable method for building teamwork, motivation, happiness and engagement.
That’s why celebrating World Laughter Day this Sunday is so important in the workplace. It’s an opportunity to help your team loosen up and laugh together — and hopefully start a daily tradition of laughter that can be sustained throughout the year.
The Origins of World Laughter Day
Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the Laughter Yoga movement, created World Laughter Day in 1998 in India. Celebrations now take place all over the world.
The day is intended as a positive manifestation for world peace and building friendship through laughter.
Ever wonder what a laugh track looks and sounds like in real life? Watch this video of people celebrating World Laughter Day last year across the world, from Japan to Slovenia to Canada.
Laughter yoga, the mind-body therapy behind World Laughter Day, is practiced by more than 400 clubs across the U.S., according to Harriet Barovick of TIME magazine. She attended a laughter yoga class and wrote about her experience and the benefits of this practice in her 2010 article, “What’s So Funny?”
Laughter yoga enthusiasts from all walks of life — senior citizens, cancer patients, corporations and even prisoners — sing the praises of its long-lasting benefits toward beating stress, anger and anxiety, Barovick says.
The Benefits of Laughter in the Workplace
Laughter is “a crucial stepping stone in building new relationships and solidifying social bonds,” writes Fast Company’s Ted Karczewski in his article “The Science Behind Using Humor and Gratitude to Motivate Your Team.”
He cites a study published in Human Nature that found sharing a few laughs with someone makes him or her more likely to open up and tell you something personal about themselves.
“A laughing team isn’t an unproductive team. Sharing a few chuckles builds the team dynamic, and ultimately leads to stronger collaborative work down the line,” Karczewski writes.
According to Entrepreneur, research into patterns of humor at regular team meetings at several German companies found that laughter “triggered positive socioemotional communication, procedural structure and new solutions.”
“In other words,” writes Entrepreneur’s Laura Entis, “what looks like mindless kidding-around can actually foster a more creative and innovative work environment.”
Laughter also has short-term and long-term health benefits. According to Mayo Clinic, laughter stimulates many organs with oxygen, fires up and then cools down your stress response, soothes tensions, relieves pain, improves your mood and even boosts your immune system.
Looking for ways to celebrate World Laughter Day at your workplace? Check out the events page for World Laughter Day to find how people near you are celebrating, resources for laughter activities and how to laugh together, and for downloadable World Laughter Day logos in a wide range of languages that you can post in public areas in your workplace.
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement, respect and appreciation, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading”.
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