Laughter has long been our inbuilt stress buster, and social connector, but it also helps us solve problems better as laughter increases creativity and broader solutions.
Had a bad day? A tough experience? Feel like hiding under the covers and just getting away from it all? Stuck for ideas on a fresh outlook for a project?
Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at some point, but there’s also an instant cure ready within all of us, laughter.
Not only does laughter release endorphins which bring your mood up and fight stress (with the added intake of oxygen-rich air), laughter also helps you make friends easier, ward of threats, and boosts creativity to help us solve problems.
Creativity also makes you feel better which can make you laugh more than leading towards an upward spiral that we really need at times, especially when life or work feels tough or draining.
Don’t believe me. Watch this.
Now you’ve likely seen this before. Why is this video so popular?
Laughing is contagious, it makes us feel good. It makes us want to share it with others, to turn it into memes etc.
It’s healthy and good for us to laugh (but not directly at the expense of teasing someone else, as that has the opposite toxic effect – not just for those being teased but those laughing end up only have a very short up before ultimately feeling down and guilty about it – a no win for everyone involved).
The key with laughter is it doesn’t even have to be us that laughs. We get the same chemical uplift of endorphins from watching other people laugh, like above.
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Study: Laughter Helps Creativity In Brainstorming Sessions
I ran a little experiment. Something we like to do here at The Envisionary. It was simple, like they should be.
Have two groups of people about to enter a brainstorming session and prep them differently to each other. One simply had 10 minutes before the session to wait around and do what they pleased, whilst the other group were invited to watch a 5 minute video of people laughing at different things.
The result: Those who were in the ‘laughing brainstorm session’ were able to come up with more ideas than those who weren’t shown any pre-laughing video.
Why Laughter Fuels Creativity
Life can get oh so serious and stressful at times. Work can be busy. We can feel like we are expending so much energy just trying to survive. We have to contend with other peoples emotions even if we are feeling good at that time. And not to mention we have an expiry date looming nearer.
It’s understandable that we sometimes just get a bit overwhelmed, and so human nature developed ways to deal with this.
Laughter is part of our survival mechanism, to cope with stress, but also to interact with other social beings to be seen as less of a threat and more trustworthy.
Laughter plays a big role in how we operate healthily. If we aren’t laughing enough then we are likely more on the unhealthy side.
Laughter doesn’t stop there though. Laughter fuels creativity too because of the release of endorphins. This relieves are stress response and calms our mind, which then opens up other areas of our brain like the prefrontal cortex.
If we are stressed and we don’t find a way to manage or release that stress then our creativity gets locked out, as our mind focuses unconsciously on immediate survival, and that means zeroing in on defense mechanisms, where creativity does not reside.
Our limbic system takes over and we lose a sense of joy or creativity in our thinking.
If this happens too much our fluid thinking gets stifled and blocked and we find it hard to overcome stress.
Thankfully, we have inbuilt ways to get around that, and laughter is one of the most efficient tools we can use to lighten up our mood, and unlock other areas of our brain that are then able to focus on problem-solving more efficiently that just shutting ourselves down.
So, if stressed, stuck in a rut, or not feeling very adaptable to change, then laugh. Release your powers to unlock your creativity and change your mind.
How Can We Utilise Laughter To Fuel Creativity At Work
Our little experiment proved how easy it is to change stubborn minds into fluid ones.
Sure, each of us have so many years of ingrained and conditioned fear responses within us, but we can also reset them and learn to reinvent ourselves.
One really quick way to open up the chest of tools within us is to laugh, and so set a positive and fun tone before a brainstorm session starts.
To develop a culture of innovation you have to approach innovation with the right tools, and so your creativity can’t be blocked.
Of course, you can learn advanced techniques to be creative under pressure, but that takes time and skill, so at first one of the best tools you can use is to free your mind from immediate stress, and there’s fewer better ways than simply laughing (or watching others laugh – which will get you laughing anyway).
If you want a quick technique to pair creativity and laughter together then take a look at that video again, and consider creating your own meme for it. This will not only get you laughing but it will get you creating at the same time.
If you don’t want to use that specific video for a meme (it has been done a thousand times), then find another clip, or create your own, and invent a funny story to go along with it.
The point here is that it really doesn’t have to even relate to your life, your project at work etc. It’s really just a way to activate your creativity, but if you are someone who is working on building solutions for work, or an entrepreneur or futurist thinking or new ideas, then adopt this technique and apply it to your brand or innovative idea. It could really help. Plus, people like sharing funny memes, so it may well help the marketing of your business.
If doing it just for you then that’s fine too, just remember to enjoy it, and if something is becoming stressful or too serious and automated then just have a look at that video (or a similar video) and you’ll soon be back smiling and thinking creatively.