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Laughter May Be a Key in Fighting Workplace Stress

How often do you laugh at work? I mean, unabashed genuine belly laughter. Laughter that you're not trying to control so as not to disturb a coworker, or offend someone in a meeting. We're often more reserved at work than we are in our day-to-day lives.

Laughter may be the last thing you think will be appreciated, especially with so many working remotely or the stress of on-site employees so high, but that might be why we need it so desperately.

Laughter really is the best medicine—for some things. You’ve heard the phrase before and, according to the Mayo Clinic, it holds some truth. While a good sense of humor can’t cure all, laughing and joking around can help reduce your stress, improve your mood and immune system, and make it easier to connect with others.

Humor in the Workplace

The benefits of humor extend far beyond your personal life—they can be achieved at work too. Humor in the workplace can:

  • Provide a non-confrontational means of talking with others without intensifying emotions.

  • Help put difficult situations in perspective.

  • Reduce stress by activating a physical response in the body—it can actually make you feel more relaxed and ready to take on difficult tasks.

  • Serve as a pick-me-up in the middle of a long work day.

  • Help boost your mood, especially if you’re having a bad day.

  • Help foster positive professional relationships with your co-workers.

Things to Consider

Humor has a place in the office, but only if you know when and where it belongs.

Be sure to avoid:

  • Jokes that are sexual in nature

  • Jokes about someone’s sexuality, religion, ethnicity, or personal appearance

  • Comments that put others down

  • Sarcastic remarks

  • Serious subjects like death, disabilities, or sexual harassment

  • Jokes that carry negative messages (If you wouldn’t say it in a conversation, don’t say it in a joke.)

Next time you’re feeling stressed out at work, tell a joke or two. Remember to be mindful of your audience and the types of jokes you’re telling to ensure that you’re only introducing positive humor in the workplace.

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