Is it appropriate to laugh at work? Apparently yes, because it could decrease your stress, make you more efficient and do some fitness exercises by using 19 muscles!
by Emmanuel Maindron
According to science laughter could decrease stress hormone. Since 2002, Corinne Cosseron is working with the laugh. This ex-journalist, laugh-lover, has created L’école Internationale du rire® (International School of Laughter) and helps to bring laughter inside the companies. According to her books, “In 1939, French people said that they were laughing 19 minutes per day, in 2000 they only laughed 1 minute per day”. This statistic is impressive. Our grandparents where laughing more than us! L’école Internationale du rire® works with lots of companies. They generally build a different program for each company, “everything is customized because every company is different” says Corinne Cosseron. She also specifies that the companies are calling the school. “We don’t call them to offer our services”. The process is easy. When a company gets in contact with them one question is primordial: “what is the aim of the intervention?” Corinne doesn’t want to help the company to announce a bad news thanks to the laugh (i.e.: mass lay-offs).
THE SCHOOL IS DEALING WITH TWO SPECIALTIES
Handling stress and team-building. In this way they don’t give theoretical lessons about how to laugh or how you can force yourself to laugh. No. They give advices thanks to exercises: games, relaxation, meditation, sing… “People said, at the end of the day, that it was like a full week of holidays. Laughing together permits to create links between people. Laughter is an accelerator of connections between people and it’s repair the stress”, adds Corinne. One of the biggest problem identified by the school is that the companies are using it as a one shot. Laughter therapy is like other training, if you want to succeed in you have to do a follow up.
LAUGHING AS A VITAL REFLEX
So, why is laughing in a company so important? “Laughing is really important in every situation not just at work, because it’s a vital reflex and it helps to decrease your stress, boosts your creativity and makes you more efficient” Corinne gives us an advice: “do some break and laugh. Authorize yourself to laugh because you will work better after that !”
THE GOLDEN LAUGHTER AWARD
The school has also created the Rire d’or (Golden laughter award). This award is offered once a year and highlights someone who helped people to understand the benefits of laughter and positive feelings. In 2011, the award will be given to Marc Jolivet, a French actor, for his organization, Rire pour la planète (Laugh for the Planet) who send humorists in the French schools to increase children awareness of ecology!
THE BEST JOKE
In order to help you to laugh more today, here is the best joke! The British Association for the Advancement of Science has done an online survey over the course of one year (in 2002) in 70 countries. They were asking people to vote for the best jokes within 40,000 jokes. Could be interesting to see in the future how laughter is used in the companies to help to decrease the stress. Maybe some of them will create a joke competition, or a laugh minute. The subject allows us to be creative and numerous ideas can be finding. The stress, in our society, in the workplace and in the everyday life is permanent, so having a weapon to combat that is great. Just try it to measure the effectiveness of the weapon! We will do a follow up!
ADVICE FROM CORINNE
1 Eliminate your stress in 30 seconds!
Stand, foot spread, arms hold out. Start by clenching your fists and contracting your entire body, grimacing … and then breathe out saying “OUF”. At the same time relax your muscles.
2 Relax yourself 20 times a day
Close your eyes, breathe deeply and think about a place where you are really happy. Feel the happiness that inspires you. It looks like a fantastic fragrance. Feel the smile that appears on your face!
FOUR JOKES …
1 The Young Businessmann
A young businessman had just started his own firm. He rented a beautiful office and had it furnished with antiques. Sitting there, he saw a man come into the outer office. Wishing to appear the hot shot, the businessman picked up the phone and started to pretend he had a big deal working. He threw huge figures around and made giant commitments. Finally he hung up and asked the visitor, “Can I help you?” The man said, “Yeah, I’ve come to activate your phone lines.”
2 Stopping by the office one day
Resolving to surprise her husband, an executive’s wife stopped by his office. She found him with his secretary sitting on his lap. Without hesitating, he dictated, “…and in conclusion, gentlemen, shortage or no shortage, I cannot continue to operate this office with just one chair.”
3 Eager to impress the boss
A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. “Listen,” said the CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?” “Certainly,” said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. “Excellent, excellent!” said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine. “I just need one copy.”
4 The HR e-mail
E-mail one Attention: Human Resources
Joe Smith, my assistant programmer, can always be found
hard at work in his cubicle. Joe works independently, without
wasting company time talking to colleagues. Joe never
thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always
finishes given assignments on time. Often Joe takes extended
measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping
coffee breaks. Joe is an individual who has absolutely no
vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound
knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Joe can be
classed as a high-calibre employee, the type which cannot be
dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Joe be
promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
executed as soon as possible.
Regards, Project Leader
E-mail two Attention: Human Resources
Joe Smith was reading over my shoulder while I wrote the report sent to you earlier today. Kindly read only the odd numbered lines [1, 3, 5, etc.] for my true assessment of his ability. Regards,Project Leader
Illustrations by Dongyun Lee, New York, USA
Published in the hard-copy of Work Style Magazine, Spring 2011