In 1969 my Dad won a national championship playing football for the NDSU Bison. Over the last few years, it has become a cool father-son tradition for us to meet up and watch at least a couple games together (it gives him a chance to relive the “glory days.”) I can tell he absolutely loves it.
So, last Saturday afternoon I met him in St. Cloud, MN, and we watched the game. We were joined by another friend a few years older than me, someone we’ve both known all our lives. As the game evolved, we found ourselves spending 50% of the time watching the game, the other 50% joking and telling stories.
Have you ever laughed so hard with someone that your face, literally, hurt?
That’s what this was like. Non-stop smiling and laughter therapy for over 2 hours.
Later, after I started to regain feeling in my cheeks, I realized how amazing I felt. You obviously know I’m a performance guy who focuses on things that “move the needle,” but I found myself wondering why I was feeling this way and what the specific benefits of laughter actually were?
It turns out there are many. Laughter:
- - Lowers stress
- - Boosts T-cells and immune system
- - Decreases pain
- - Improves cardiac function
- - Strengthens resilience
- - Relaxes your muscles
- - Lowers blood pressure
(Not to mention the social benefits of stronger, more connected relationships)
WOW. Really? All that from laughter?
I’ve realized that not many of us consciously structure our days thinking about adding laughter into it (I certainly don’t). Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s only something we fully appreciate after it happens.
Let’s stop doing that.
Personally, I can look back on my best (and worst) days and draw a strong correlation with how often I’ve smiled and laughed. And in my humble Outperforming opinion, we have enough seriousness in the world right now and MANY things could be improved with simple smiles and laughter, including relationships, businesses and politics.
Laugh it up and let's be more intentional about doing it in the future. It’ll make us ALL better.
All the best and keep Outperforming,
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