Whistle While You Work by Olivia Goodheart

Productive work should be a source of joy.

Productive work should be a source of joy.

Did you know that children laugh an average of 400 times a day; but the average adult older than 35 laughs only 15 times each day?

We’ve all heard the adage, laughter is the best medicine. The Bible even tells us that, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine . . .”

From another perspective, the connection between spirit, mind and body is being better documented by scientific/medical studies. As reported by Laura Laaman in The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, a study by Drs. Lee Berk and Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University found that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and increases muscle flexion (flexibility between joints and tendons).

Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.

I am convinced that productive work should be a source of joy. Let me cite one more study to make my point. Researcher Duane Smelser found that people who are lighthearted, having fun and in good spirits are more likely to be successful. Their positive feelings enable them to think more clearly and creatively.

So with the general stress created in the typical workplace by deadlines, limited resources, higher expectations and the occasionally irksome office mate, how do you keep a smile on your face and joy in your spirit?

Pay attention to the small things. Add items that bring you joy to your personal workspace. A special photo; a memento you associate with fond memories; fresh flowers; and music that always lifts your mood can all be useful tools for creating a happy work climate.

Enjoy your relationship with your co-workers, colleagues and clients. Share inside jokes, break bread together away from the office on occasion; go out of your way to show gratitude for support and assistance with kind words and small tokens of appreciation. Stop obsessing over what goes wrong and celebrate your shared victories.

Detoxify away from the work place. Identify a friend or relative who does not work with you. Agree to be each other’s “venting buddy.” The rules are you never break a confidence and you don’t wallow. Once you talk it out of your system, whatever the issue is . . . let it go!

Surf for smiles. Find a web site or two and sign-up for a joke or cartoon of the day. You don’t have to spend hours at this, but five or ten minutes of laughter will leave you feeling relaxed, happy, healthy and productive.

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