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Laugh Out Loud

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Introduction
Laugh Out Loud Workshop
Workshop Format
Laughter tips from Swami

Workshop Focus:
Release stress and connect with joy
Duration:
1 hour session
Target Audience:
Staff and management
Expected Outcomes:
Release stress and team building

Introduction

Laughing is not just a cracking a few jokes and spontaneous behaviour.  It is fantastic for health, energy and building community and aids in reducing bullying.

From the early 1970s there have been only a few researchers conducting humour studies. Psychologists have considered humour important, humour is evident wherever there is social interaction. The fact that we feel good after we laugh suggests that laughter is important for health and well-being. Humour is an elusive concept, there is no agreement by sociologists on how it should be determined. It is accepted that humour involves communication amongst at least two people and is determined by social forces. Sociologists are in agreement that jokes only become jokes because of the social responses to them. Psychoanalysts assert that humour expresses underlying issues that cannot be expressed directly.

Today laughter workshops are worldwide.  There is a growing understanding of the importance to release stress through laughter.  Doctor Madan Kataria is the founder of laughter yoga where he brought groups of people together to learn to laugh.  He has started over 2,000 clubs around the world.  So it is indeed popular to start laughing again.  The interesting aspect of his work is that he doesn’t tell jokes, he creates activities to bring laughter.  Some have critiqued this work as canned laughter but having attended and run workshops myself people start to get into the mood and break out of patterns of non laughter.  In my own experience what I have noticed is that people start to bond more in the group, the real clowns come out and play and people get the opportunity to express themselves which is incredibly important in workplaces that are often emotionally suppressed.   This is very important for community building and forging better relationships.  What I like to say is people who play together stay together.  Playfulness is not being foolhardy it is lightening up what can often be routinised spaces.  I’ve worked in approximately 400 companies and there was definitely relief when people had a laugh together, it inspired a sense of community and light relief.

Here are some reasons why laughter is highly recommended at work:

  • Laughing is one of the ways to collaborative and harmonious workplaces. The number 1 problem we are facing in organisations is seriousness, you will notice these places – no laughter, no creativity, no friendliness, routine is standard and boredom expands time by a prolonged fixation on the clock. Yes it is a sad day when humour has left the building.
  • Laughing is empowering, it connects with feelings of elation, joy, triumph, liberation and power whereas tears link to feelings of distress and helplessness. Laughter is generally thought to be natural, cheerful, convivial, exhilarating and healthy
  • Arden Mahlberg’s article ‘Laughter at Work’ states that a playful attitude helps people find more creative responses to problems than when they approach them seriously. It helps us let go of the perspective we have been attached to and see things differently .
  • On a biological level, laughter increases oxygenation, circulation and energy. One of the easiest ways to increase morale and productivity is to incorporate humour into the office and into committee meetings. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, you might want to be deliberate and plan for it. “Anyone heard any good jokes lately?” A widespread use of e-mail is the dissemination of jokes and humorous material. You can get a lighter attitude before a meeting by reading some jokes or humour.
  • In my work as a clown in hospitals we came into unhealthy spaces to provoke laughter as it stimulates the endorphins and has a healing response.  It is excellent for mental health and and generating good feelings.  Thus, laughter is good for us. Studies have shown that it reduces stress hormones and improves the functioning of the immune system to fight disease. Those of us in the ministry and other helping professions can easily get, “fun deprived,” as I diagnose it. So we may need to be deliberate about getting enough fun and laughter into our lives and our work.
  • From a bullying perspective, positive laughter and team building is an excellent way to build a positive culture in a workplace and to build relationships in light and harmless ways.  It models healthy behaviour.

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Laugh Out Loud Workshop

… Be prepared to laugh in our workshops.  Let’s practice together now… (check to see is anyone looking :o))

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The Laugh Out Loud Workshop runs for 45 minutes and is great either in the morning or after lunch. Perhaps it is in-between tiring meetings.  This is better than a boost juice.

This workshop will bring flagging employees back to work each day. How many wake up and say ‘oh i don’t want to go to work’. How many say ‘I will chuck a sicky’ to avoid going to work. We have to face it, for many work is not fun. Well now it can be!  Laugh Out Loud will bring some spice into the day which will enhance productivity.

Consider having this program once a week in your business or at conferences or as a invigorator at other training sessions. They will love you, hmmmm…. well let’s say they will like you a lot. To laugh out loud stimulates and gives people a really good belly laugh.

Endorphins are hormones that are health producing. When you laugh, you experience wellbeing and a burst of energy. It is also great for learning how to relax, team building and energised thinking in a creative and non analytical way.  So let’s re-energise people without coffee.

The program is delivered by ‘Peace-fool the clown’. The clown is a powerful symbol of fun, spontaneity, humour, equality, esteem and non-judgement. Employees who enjoy where they work and feel free enough to share a good joke with colleagues are more likely to stay with the company.

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Workshop Format

Workshop duration: 45 minutes

  • Introduction about the importance of laughter and stress relief
  • Warm up face and body bits
  • Pattern ball name game – to get to know each other if a new team
  • Dress ups
  • Laughter practice – ho ho ha ha and activities to generate laughter
  • Group activity
  • Relaxation and breathing.

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Laughter Tips From Swami

LAUGHTER TIPS FROM SWAMI BEYONDANANDA (teehee)

10 Ways to Wake Up Laughing — and Leave Laughter in Your Wake

1. Laugh Every Day. Seriously … laughter is good for you. And when things “just aren’t funny” — that’s the most important time to laugh. Try this at home: Watch Funniest Home Videos with the sound off and Spike Jones playing instead.

2. Don’t Worry, You’re Already Funny. Instead of trying to be funny, learn to see funny. Especially learn to see what’s funny about you. Imagine God watching the Comedy Channel, and you are what’s on.

3. Bring Laughter to the Outernet . Take the best of those jokes you get on the internet and share them on the “outernet.” Practice by telling the same joke to five people. Short jokes are fine. Remember, it’s not the length of the joke that matters, it’s how much pleasure it gives.

4. Savour and Save Humorous Healing Stories . A good laughsitive cleanses the system and leaves the mind open to receive nourishment. Keep a notebook of jokes that “enlighten as they lighten.” You will find yourself remembering and using them just at the right time.

5. Turn Worry Into Laughter . When you find yourself worrying about something, step back from the worry and see if you can find something in the situation to laugh about. Worrying has no proven benefits. Laughter does. Did you know that one Youngman of laughter — the mirth contained in the average one-liner — can release up to a megahertz emotional pain?

6. Reframe Suffering as Comedy in Disguise . Sing the blues when you are angry, sad or frustrated. If you must complain, complain creatively — and thoroughly enjoy your complaining. Say, “You know what I love about this ….?” Look for the comedy “hidden in this picture.” (e.g., “I’m not on the verge of bankruptcy. I’m just having a near-debt experience.”)

7. Build Critical “Muscle” By Pumping Ironies . Looking for the inherent contradictions and incongruities in situations helps build a strong body politic 12 ways. Train your inner child to ask, “How come that emperor isn’t wearing any clothes?” When you watch the news or read the papers, be on the lookout for truth disguised as humour.

8. Develop a Comic Alter Ego . A shy, mild-mannered man named Edgar Bergen went “inside” and found a brash, outrageous alter ego which he called Charlie McCarthy — who would do and say things that would make Edgar blush. Even if your “character” never makes it beyond your bathroom mirror, a comic alter ego is a great way to give voice to daily frustrations and lovingly laugh at your own “shadow.” One of the best ways to break the addiction to your own personality is try some other ones on!

9. Write Your Laugh Story . Spend an afternoon or evening writing your life story as if it were a comedy. Which comic actors could play your family, friends and foes? Who would you get to play your part? Give your story a title. A friend of mine calls his “Don’t Do What I Did!”

10. Play Regularly . Have you ever felt the Creator is toying with you? Well then, follow Swami Beyondananda’s sage advice and become a creative plaything. Bring the childlike quality of play back into your life. Run up the down escalator. Dress for Halloween — any day the mood hits you. Plant the seeds of harmless fun wherever you go.

© Steve Bhaerman, www.wakeuplaughing.com , 2002. Feel free to circulate, with attribution only.