What is a laughter session?
Laughter sessions invite people to laugh for no reason. They show how it’s possible to make laughter a choice rather than waiting for an external stimulus we find funny. Based on the principle that our bodies can’t tell the difference between fake and real laughter, as long as you join in the exercises you reap the physical and emotional benefits.
Day-to-day, our social laughter may last 3-5 minutes. The prolonged physical and emotional benefits of laughter come from extending laughter to 10-15 minutes. Depending on your company culture, there are a number of ways to integrate regular laughter into the workday; for example, designated laughter breaks in a giggle room or a regular laughter phone line where you can dial in to laugh together. Laughter works on so many levels in so many different ways.
What to expect?
A suggested kick-off is a one-hour session that comprises a series of laughter exercises combined with deep relaxing breathing. To start with it may feel strange to laugh for no reason, however what tends to happen in a group is the natural laughter starts to flow when everyone realises how silly they look and sound. Real laughter is very contagious.
Laughter shifts our energy, tapping into our subconscious, stirring emotions. At the end of each session we do a grounding exercise so that people feel refreshed, relaxed and energised, ready to carry on with their day.
There are many, well-researched benefits of regular laughter sessions:
- Physical release of endorphins which counter the stress hormone cortisol (high levels of cortisol can suppress immune system functioning)
- Promotes healthy function of blood vessels and boosts heart rate
- Laughing expels stale air increasing fresh oxygen to the body and brain positively impacting motivation, productivity and creativity
- Laughter is a social connector that bridges all dimensions whatever the culture, language, age or seniority
- Laughing calms mental chatter – it also provides a cathartic emotional release enabling greater focus on other tasks
- Practicing letting go of inhibitions can encourage appropriate risk taking without fear of failure
- Encourage positive relationships between cross-functional employees who form closer bonds and connections through laughing together
- Provide a different perspective and new solutions to work problems through taking time out to focus on a non-work activity
- Promote equality as laughing is something everyone can do, with everyone’s contribution being equal
- Build resilience making a choice to ‘laugh’ vs. ‘cry’ when faced with a challenging scenario
- Benefit health because laughing really can boost immunity, lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone cortisol and so reducing absenteeism
If you’re not in a quiet office (although it might be a fun experiment if you are) and your device volume is enabled – here’s a one minute laughter blaster – we challenge you not to join in with at least a small chuckle: