Mental Health Awareness
To expand on our previous blog topic of social health, laughter is a key component of a strong and successful team. According to Harvard Business Review, people laugh about 18 times per day and 97% of that time we’re laughing with others. In fact, we are 30 times more likely to laugh with others than to laugh alone.
When we laugh, both endorphins and dopamine are released which significantly improves our mood. Laughing, like yawning, is contagious, so everyone experiences the same improved mood, and this shared positive experience strengthens and nurtures the bond between the group. Additional benefits of laughing include:
- Improved immune functioning
- Stress and anxiety relief
- Increased pain tolerance
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Sense of safety
- Improved motivation, productivity, and focus
How to Encourage Laughter Virtually
Due to COVID-19, many of us are still working remotely and keeping our distance from others. This means the amount that we are laughing each day has drastically decreased and so have the benefits associated with it. Luckily, team leaders can promote laughter and also strengthen their team bond at the same time! Here’s how:
- Utilize Video: During virtual meetings and conference calls, take the time to get everyone’s video working. This improved everyone’s ability to read cues and promote contagious laughter.
- Take Your Time: Don’t rush through calls! While work talk should be kept efficient, make sure to leave time for non-work conversation. Allow everyone to just chat and catch up. You can also encourage team members to share any funny stories they may have!
- Smile: Team members often look to the leader for cues to determine what is acceptable behavior, including permission to laugh. The best way to encourage this is by genuinely smiling. Another way to lighten the mood and encourage laughter is to use a higher pitched, happy tone in your voice.
- Lead by Example: Because laughter is contagious, let yourself laugh too! You can even get yourself in a light-hearted mood by watching some funny YouTube videos before the call starts or have some funny stories lined up to tell. Just remember to keep in genuine.
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