Recently, I stumbled upon a Laurel and Hardy YouTube clip called ‘Stan Laurel infectious laughing!’ Like Oliver Hardy, I very soon found myself chortling along. Afterwards, I was aware of a lightening of my mood and a more positive approach to the next set of tasks on my job list.
The adage ‘laughter is the best medicine’ is well known and like most people, I am aware of the beneficial mood lightening and even euphoric effects of a good belly laugh, but I investigated further. A quick search revealed that some of the claimed physical benefits of laughter include: boosting immunity, lowering stress hormones, decreasing pain, relaxing muscles and a preventative for heart disease.
However, my attention was drawn to the mental health and social benefits of laughter, which include: adding joy and zest to life, easing anxiety and tension, relieving stress, increased resilience, strengthening relationships, enhancing teamwork, defusing conflict and promoting group bonding. I am struck by how these benefits of laughter align with some of the desired outcomes in coaching conversations. This observation is nothing new to the coaching community, and expert laughter coaches do exist, but I shall be considering how to incorporate laughter, as appropriate, into my existing coaching approaches.
I hope you find the clip gives you a lift, as it did me.