I’ve worked in some very serious environments. But you see I’m a natural laugher – yep I’ve coined a new term to describe myself. I love to have a laugh, with friends, family or even by myself. I laugh. And it is no quiet demure laugh, it’s wild, it’s hysterical sometimes, and it’s so empowering. (I do have different laughs for different occasions, but I’m talking about the belly laugh here).
I always think maybe I should go into laugh therapy – the world needs to stand back and have a good laugh at some of the idiocy that is plaguing it. So many people, buzzing on stress and caffeine – and for what? To keep up with the mythical Joneses? Is it really necessary?
But back to laughing, I have laughed through the worst times of my life. When my mother died, my older sister made me laugh with her whale impressions – spouting water and all – I loved it, and it made me for a moment or three forget the grief that was boiling up inside of me. And I laughed recalling some of my Dad’s finer moments as we as a family sat around deciding what to include in his funeral sermon. The laughter was good, and I am not ashamed of it. It helped me cope with the way my life was changing dramatically.
I try for a laugh a day – at a minimum. This is made much easier by having my son around – who happens to make me smile, and laugh with his funny ways. But in the workplace, I’ve encountered some frowns when laughing, but I’ve also had people come up to me, and say thank you for making me laugh, I needed that. Or when a supervising officer popped his head into the office, asked if I was on laughing gas, and then I made him laugh too…..
In the high pressure environments I’ve worked, I’ve found that it’s good to make your team laugh, to have a group chuckle. It brought the team I led for seven odd years, together, and we could laugh over the stupidity of the bureaucratic system we worked in. And for that we were all grateful. (And it also helped when our backs were against the wall, racing to meet a deadline, we worked as a team to achieve the goals).
I also had one supervisor thank me for bringing a bit of laughter to the working environment. People would walk past my office feeling blue, and then they would pop in if they heard me having a laugh, and would themselves smile or laugh, and leave a little bit more light-hearted. And I think that was a simple kindness I could give them. A gift that they could take back with them.
So if you can – give the gift of laughter today!