A recent survey carried out by a mental health organisation found that of the people surveyed, a staggering 47% feel stressed every day with 59% feeling more stressed than five years ago.
According to the 2014 HSE report, the number of days lost to work-related stress has remained broadly flat for more than a decade, but the trend for males has been on the increase and 45 to 54 year-olds are at a much higher risk.
General practitioners cited as chief among the lost-day causes:
- Workload pressures
- Difficulties with superiors and bullying or harassment
- Reduction of resources or additional responsibilities
“Laughter is the best medicine – unless you’re diabetic, then insulin comes pretty high on the list” Jasper Carrott
While writing an article on how leaders embarking upon a change program should construct a “call to arms” that will resonate with and compel action, I came across a TED speech given by Sophie Scott earlier this year on “Why we laugh”, a random line of enquiry indeed!
Chief among her shared insights was an important finding from Professor Robert Levenson whose team is looking into the role emotion plays in interpersonal interactions.
His work with couples has led to the observation that those employing humour and laughter deal with stressful situations better and that these same couples report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships and stay together longer on average.
Laughter it would seem is a phenomenally useful index of how people are regulating their emotions together and how resilient they might be when presented with a challenge. Clearly, laughter is not a mere signal that we are amused or entertained, or a way of showing we like each other, but a vehicle for promoting the production of “feel good” endorphins which make everyone feel better together.
In business, there’s always a risk that we’ll lose sight of what’s funny in the immediate situation. Sometimes we need a little injection of humour from someone who knows us well enough to “hit the right nerves”, reminding us that life’s not all about work!
But where should we be looking for that inspiration, and who is naturally positioned to play this part in your workplace, helping you see the comedic thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humour and hurt?
In the world of KPI’s and PI’s, how prominently should a laughter index feature? Could a simple score sheet on the number of times a team laughs together during the day, week, month become a powerful indicator of team bonding and resilience?
As a leader in your business and given the emerging connection between laughter and the longevity and resilience of the relationships enjoying it, can you afford to ignore its significance?
We at Coriolis have decided we cannot…
By Mark Hyland, Talent Director at Coriolis Ltd