A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.— Carolyn Birmingham
This quote from Carolyn Birmingham though displaying the literal origination of a smile, grin, chuckle and laughter; in my opinion beautifully demonstrates the effects these have on others. A Swedish study found that it is indeed difficult to keep a long face when you look at people who are smiling at you. Seeing people smile stimulates our mirror neurons to suppress our facial muscle control, and trigger a smile.
Smiles are contagious, so are frowns
A 2016 research published by Science Daily, reveals that smiles are really contagious, so are frowns, furrowed brows, and other facial expressions.
Those whom we call weak; or we think are emotionally unintelligent because they mirror the emotions of those around them are actually the most empathetic. Growing evidence shows that the instinct for facial mimicry allows these individuals to empathize with and even experience other people’s feelings. The inability to mirror another person’s face, limits one’s ability to read and properly react to their expressions. Scientists believe that this inability may be key to why some individuals have difficulty reading emotion in others.
I believe it is clear now that these expressions are contagious; if you are still in doubt, observe closely the demeanour of people when you walk into a room or a group of people discussing while wearing a frown. Sometimes it’s not because they fear you, don’t like you or don’t want you to be a part of the conversation; it’s just that you are capable of killing the happy vibe, probably due to your uniformed countenance (always frowning).
How can humour inspire productivity?
According to Edward De Bono, “humour is by far the most significant dimension of the human brain.” Humour lets us think asymmetrically; thus energizing us as well as enhancing our creativity.
Grim care, moroseness, and anxiety—all this rust of life ought to be scoured off by the oil of mirth. Mirth is God’s medicine.— Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher did not make a mistake for calling mirth (amusement, especially as expressed in laughter) God’s medicine.
According to a report by Mayo Clinic, laughter has both short- and long-term benefits. According to their report, in the short term, laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Endorphins are produced in response to stress or discomfort; it has been described as your body’s natural pain killers.
Another short-term effect of laughter is its ability to Soothe tension; laughter stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation; both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
The long-term effects of laughter include;
- Enhances your immune systems; negative thoughts releases chemicals that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. Positive thoughts on the other hand, actually releases neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations.
- It also helps you connect with other people.
- Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
Humour is not only essential for a happy life; a study carried out by Fluegge Woolf in 2008, showed that humour in the workplace can boost employee productivity; and even enhance performance.
Here of 2 ways you can harness the power of humour to drive productivity in the workplace;
Lead with a happy face
Believe it or not, as a Manager or Supervisor, you set the tone. Employees often watch their boss’s expressions; this has nothing to do with whether employees are emotionally intelligent or not; its a basic human principle that people are happier where humour thrives. Humour helps put employees at ease; it makes you, the Manager or Supervisor more approachable.
The workplace is already a stressful environment and leaders can only make it interesting when they are emotionally intelligent; emotional intelligence requires that you understand, use, and manage your own emotions being constantly aware of how it affects those around you. Having control over your emotions as a leader helps you communicate effectively, and empathize with others.
Therefore, be aware of your habitual facial expressions; do not approach all issues with the same grim intensity; not being unhandy when people make the inevitable mistake can go a long way toward fostering the well-being of your employee’s emotional health.
Introduce fun activities
It is essential that you set aside 30 minutes a week to introduce fun activities such as recreational and mind games that can lighten the mood of your employees. You can also set up a monthly Book Review, where the employees review the books shared to the team.
For this and much more Information relating to employability skills, employment opportunities, career advancement and entrepreneurship development; Join our Telegram and WhatsApp groups, and also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.