Use laughter to boost your productivity and reduce stress levels

Have you ever had a day that had so many things go wrong, that it eventually started to be downright funny?  Your toast burned.  Irritating.  Your seven-year-old couldn’t find his other shoe, making him ten minutes late for school and you late for work.  Irritating.  You dropped your briefcase, and the quarterly reports you printed for this morning’s meeting fell in a mud puddle.  Irritating.  At lunch with a new client, you shake the mustard bottle, the cap comes off, and a big glop of mustard flies right into the middle of your forehead.  Hilarious!  This is the stuff comedies are made of!  Your entire morning is fodder for a sitcom. 

I was giving a seminar at an environmental engineering firm and was told a story of an engineer supervising the building of a wind monitoring tower for a study involving wind turbines.  Something went very wrong, and the 130-foot tower began to crumble the second it was completely upright.  While the engineer yelled expletives, one of his co-workers stood right beside him laughing his head off.  The frustrated engineer looked at his co-worker in amazement.  The co-worker said, “Sometimes, all you can do is laugh!”  The engineer immediately saw his point and started laughing, too.  He knew the next step was simply to start all over again, regardless of his attitude.  So he could either wear himself out by continuing to yell expletives or make the best of it by enjoying a much-needed laugh. 

Whether you laugh or complain, you will not change the situation.  Complaining will make you feel irritable, depressed, drain your energy, and make others not want to be around you.  Laughing will improve your attitude, boost your spirits, and lower your stress.  Living by the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine!” is a real productivity tool.



  1. Your story is a great example and model for me. I tend to take things rather seriously, but living life gracefully means (to me) appreciating and seeing the lighter side of things. “Enjoy the ride” is how Patricia Ryan Madson puts it in “improv wisdom.”

    I think it’s especially challenging when people are overloaded – being overwhelmed puts us into fear mode (fight or flight, if you will) and makes it *very* tough to laugh. Have you found that to be the case?