Famous British Actor, John Cleese, visited laughter clubs while filming one of his BBC series on, “Human Face. ” He visited Mumbai Laughter Clubs and a prison in Mumbai. After laughing with a group of people, he made a remark- “I am surprised how laughter connects you with people.” It’s almost impossible to maintain a distance or social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a great connector of the people.
People who Laugh Together Work Together
Laughter is a very powerful emotion and it can be used as a powerful tool to bring people together and work as a team.
I'm a Medical Doctor and I have no business experience at all. None of my family members had ever done any business as I belong to a farmer’s family. However, what I learnt from my experience with the laughter clubs movement makes a lot of business sense. Without spending a single penny on marketing and advertising, I established 6000 laughter clubs in 65 countries. What I learnt from the experience is that nothing can be achieved alone. My success with the laughter movement, I attribute to my networking skills with my laughter leaders and teachers around the world, whom have helped me to achieve this goal. It’s all Teamwork.
Here are some of the highlights that have contributed to good Teamwork:
Laughter connects people Together
Laughter is a positive energy and it is infectious. You must be wondering why laughter is infectious. Not only laughter, in fact, all emotions are infectious. Even seriousness is infectious as you can see that if the boss of a company is serious the whole company becomes serious.
The new science of emotions has revealed astonishing facts about human communication. In the past few decades a groundbreaking discovery shows that the human brain is equipped with special nerve cells called "Mirror Neurons" that mimic the behavior and emotions of people with whom we interact. For example, if you see somebody who is sad, you start experiencing sadness. If someone smiled at you, you smile back even if you are not wanting to smile. This means we are the product of our environments. If we are surrounded by happy people, the happiness of the group affects everyone. If you are around grumpy people, your energy is likely to go down. One of the most important parts of team building is to support a positive environment so that it can enhance the energy of the group.
Mood States and Team Building
The mood is a very important factor in team building. If most of the team members are in a good mood and high spirits then they can lift the spirits of the few members who might not be feeling good. The mirror neurons in brain cells will copy the emotions of most of the group members and this will help to release happy chemicals and lift the mood states also. The reason for this emotional resonance is because human beings are very sensitive to emotions of other people.
Laughing with the People
The unique thing about laughing without a reason and laughter yoga practices is that the laughter is unconditional and it is being done as a physical exercise. There are no judgments, nothing to understand but they are all doing laughter exercises together. We are not particularly laughing at something and we are not making fun of anybody. It is all positive and nothing negative, which is very important for a team building point of view.
Emotional balance and performance of the team
It is comparatively easier to manage physical and mental stress but it is very difficult to handle emotional stress which is due to bad relationships at home or in the workplace. If your teammates are having emotional problems at home, they will bring all of them to the workplace. Additionally, relationship problems in the workplace they will carry home. Your highly talented and skilled employees can’t perform well if they have too much built up feelings and emotions due to bad relationships at home or in the workplace.
Research has been found that people are not good at expressing emotions which results in causing emotional imbalance. This can lead to depression, anger and frustration. Their inability to express emotions turns them into pressure cookers. Laughter Yoga is a unique method that helps to release physical, mental and emotional stress and at the same time helps people feel better quickly. It is simple and quick catharsis to release your built up feelings and emotions.
Supporting Good Feelings for Good Teamwork
The amazing thing about Laughter Yoga is that you don't have to depend upon your present mood to start working together. You can create a good mood by doing laughter and breathing exercises.
Laughter Yoga exercises are the best way to kick start good feelings and happy chemicals within minutes. Laughter helps to release endorphins from your brain cells which are called feel good hormones. Also, due to an increase in the supply of oxygen, laughter makes you feel good. Once you have good feelings within, everything changes in the outside world. Your behavior and your attitude towards negative situations will change. A positive mental attitude is very important factor in building a good team. Having good feelings is very important to improve relationships among employees within the company and have strong relationships with customers.
Good Team Comes from a Good Leader
A leader is a person who can lead a group of people to achieve a particular goal. An effective leader shows high emotional intelligence . Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand his own sentiments as well as sentiments of other people so that he can empathize with others and builds strong relationships. This is only possible when leader are able to manage their own emotions.
The emotions of a leader affect the whole team. If the leader is full of energy and joy, they will bring enthusiasm to the whole team. In contrast, if the leader is serious, he will bring seriousness to the entire team. Therefore, the emotional health of a leader is very important in team building.
Communication through Laughter
A good leader is a person with strong communication skills. Laughter Yoga exercises breaks the barriers between the staff and the management and it frees you from ego and connects people.
It is purely a physical exercise along with breathing exercises. Anybody can do it as it is not a mental phenomenon. There is nothing to understand only a physical practice which is run in the group. It does not matter what language you speak, how challenged you are or how stressed you may be at the moment.
With my experience of laughter clubs worldwide, I learnt that appreciation works like a magic to motivate and inspire people. When team members are appreciated and acknowledged , their motivation levels go up and they work more than they normally do. In Laughter Clubs, we learn to appreciate each other. We have a special laughter exercise called appreciation laughter that reminds the members how important it is to appreciate others.
I have always appreciated the laughter leaders and have acknowledged their contributions. This has worked wonders in building a strong relationship with my leaders who are running social laughter clubs. They are spending their valuable time and effort to run these clubs with limited financial outcome.
Team building at the Body Level
According to the science of NLP (Neuro- linguistic programming), people are connected to those people similar to them. In Laughter Yoga, everyone seems to be connect to one another through laughter. In Laughter Clubs, people sing, dance, play & laugh. The Laughter Yoga session is designed in such a way that we clap and chant “ho ho ha ha ha” in unison which is very connecting.
The most important uniting factor in Laughter Yoga clubs is laughing and breathing together. Every human being is different in their mindsets, their thinking and their cultures. What is common between all of us, is that we all laugh in the same way and we breathe in the same air. If we breathe together, we are synchronizing with one another at both the body and the mind level. A unique feature of Laughter Clubs is Connectedness. Laughter Clubs are fast developing into extended families.
Laughter Brings Generosity and A Giving Attitude
Laughter helps to develop positive mental attitude, openness and generosity. After laughing, People often times move from self-centeredness to a giving attitude. They are always willing to help and serve others. This attitude is very important from team building point of view. A selfless leader is able to leave a culture of excellence in the organization. This is what we can learn through laughter.