How Laughter Can Add To The Business Bottom Line (Part 1)

laughing woman-1138446__180What are the key employee concerns you have for your business?  Stress management? Absenteeism? Burnout? Long hours? Stagnant performance? Conflict? Stuck thinking?

The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

So what can you, as an executive or business owner, do about helping your employees improve their performance, manage their stress, not take so many days off, think more clearly, work better as a team, improve their communication skills, reduce conflict, increase their motivation and more?

Have you ever considered introducing more laughter into your business?

Not laughter as in telling bad jokes or watching questionable slap stick comedies. But laughing simply for its own sake.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates laughing, as a physical exercise rather than a cognitive one, is extremely beneficial to our health.

This type of laughter is called Laughter Yoga. The ‘yoga’ part of Laughter Yoga is the deep breathing that is a fundamental part of the exercise. There is no requirement for gym gear or weights, yoga mats or leotards!

What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter Yoga is an aerobic exercise. It comprises a series of short laughing exercises mixed with role play and playfulness, interspersed with grounding exercises, clapping, stretching and deep breathing.laughing ladies-495749__180

Science has proven that 20 minutes of sustained laughter can bring significant physiological benefits.  Laughter Yoga is the only technique the engages the aerobic nature of laughing with the deep breathing of yoga, stretching, chanting and clapping to bring a holistic mental and physical workout.

Studies have shown that our bodies can’t tell the difference between laughter that is genuine and laughter that is faked. That means that just by faking laughter your body is getting the benefits of aerobic exercise.  Laughter Yoga is the only technique that gives adults the opportunity to have sustained hearty laughter for a period of time without the mind having to be engaged. There is no judgment, just laughter for its own sake.

The only equipment/space requirements for Laughter Yoga is a space where people can stand and move in comfort, some chairs, and room for participants to keep a water bottle handy.

So I’m sure you want to know more about the areas where can Laughter Yoga help a business, and how. Well, wait no longer. I’ll be sharing six articles about the benefits of Laughter Yoga for your business.

The first one is a modern day scourge – Stress.

Laughter Yoga and Stress Managementwoman stress-1006100__180

There are many types of stress – physical, mental and emotional.

In the modern business, hours can be long, conflict can be high, pressures can be great. Competition can be robust and exhilarating, but can also have a bad effect on morale. A high performing manager with a squillion dollar portfolio to invest,  1000 team members to manage, a medical facility with patients as well as staff to administer or a school to run can feel just as stressed as an employee who feels under-appreciated, underpaid, bullied, or guilty because of time not spent at home.

Laughter Yoga uses physical expression and playfulness to help release pent up emotion. Most people in the business world spend a lot of energy maintaining a persona – Laughter Yoga creates a safe environment for that mask to be relaxed.

laughing man-1232063__180Intense laughter has been shown to release endorphins which simply make people feel good. It also provides an environment for people to express themselves without fear, helping increase communication skills. Potential conflict can be avoided, as it is often built up stress that makes people lash out.

The role playing component allows participants’ focus to be on the activity, rather than thinking about work which gives their brains a chance to refresh. It also allows the person to enjoy the sort of creativity they engaged in as children. Childlike, not childish, is the type of play that Laughter Yoga encourages.

Laughter yoga can even help with the stress of aches and pains. Laughter Yoga helps the body release endorphins, often called the ‘feel good’ hormone, but endorphins are also the body’s natural pain relief.

By laughing, participants can release out pent up emotion. Think about the last time you really had a good laugh – it’s a very cathartic experience.  Oh you can’t? hmmmm, then you are SO overdue for a Laughter Yoga session!

Up next

In my next article I’ll talk about the business benefits that can be achieved using Laughter Yoga for Increased Mental Acuity, including creative an innovative thinking.

Laughter Yoga can be run in pretty much anywhere in a business.

Laughter Yoga is all about being healthy and safe, so it can even be run one-on-one for those busy executives who just need to let their hair down in a safe place.

If you’d like to find out more about the Laughter Yoga sessions I run for business, just drop me a line at meredith@meredithyardley.com.

 

Ha Ha, Ho Ho Ho!

cheers Meredith

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Five Fabulous Tips For Healthy, Beautiful Skin

We often take our skin for granted. We go out in all weathers (because we have to) and it burns, gets dried by the wind, gets affected by smog, pollution and radiation (from things like TVs and computers).

Some of us smoke, drink too much alcohol, party and/or work too hard. We push ourselves.

Our skin is extraordinary. It keeps our insides in, and the bacteria and nasties out. Mostly. And rarely do we think about this wonderful organ, our biggest organ, in fact – seriously.

Just think about that for a moment…. 

When we think of looking after our organs we think heart, lungs, liver, kidneys but often don’t put a lot of thought into caring for our skin. And I’m not just talking about skin care (although that does play a part.)

There are many things we can do to look after our skin, so here are 5 Fabulous Tips:

  1. Drink lots of water. I know, I know, boring huh? You read it everywhere. But why? And how much? The current thinking is eight glasses a day – which is about eight cups (a cup is 250ml). It’s not hard to do and won’t make you pee all day once your body has adjusted. And you can infuse your water too. Mix ginger and mint; or any citrus and ginger or other herbs; you can steep lemon balm and then cool it down; you can add berries, too for natural flavour (whatever you use should be tossed out within 48 hours). Hydration plumps your cells, which helps reduce wrinkles. Just as an example, Elle McPherson drinks three litres of water a day – and her skin looks terrific! .
    I drink at least two litres of water a day and I’m really seeing the benefits.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. We are often so pushed during the day and then sleep eludes us at night, creating a vicious cycle. Here are some tips that might help you if you have trouble sleeping:
    • have a cool bedroom, 22 degree celsius is ideal
    • don’t have animals or children in bed with you, as they can interrupt your sleep
    • turn down the lights gradually two hours before retiring, so your body is gets ready
    • don’t eat dinner within three hours of retiring, and don’t snack after dinner
    • avoid stimulants such as vigorous exercise, coffee, alcohol or sugar before bed
    • keep all electronics (TV, mobile phone, tablet) out of the bedroom (a red-light clock radio is ok), and don’t look into any of these items within two hours of retiring. These items shine on the back of your retina, tricking your brain into staying awake
    • write in your journal, listen to gentle music, do a five minute meditation or reflection before turning out the light, as this will calm your mind
  3. Remove your make up before bed. Night time is when our skin replenishes and renews, so don’t make the job too hard! It only takes a minute or so each night, but will help give you a lifetime of clear skin.
  4. Use a quality skin care (click here to see what I use). This includes making sure it is free of any nasty chemicals such as parabens, sodium laurel suphates (SLS), triclosans, and formaldehyde, just to name a few. If you want a full list of the nasty stuff cosmetic companies have been known to include in their products, check out what Dr David Suzuki at the Environmental Working  Group has to say. The EWG has a load of consumer information about what’s really in our cosmetics, and our food. Choose skincare that is botanically based, free of nasty chemicals, is full of vitamins and antioxidants. Look for a range that is truly nutritious, one that will support cell strength, as this will help you keep wrinkles at bay!
  5. Eat loads of Omega 3 fats. Sources include salmon and tuna (fresh and wild, not canned and farmed), nuts such as walnuts and macadamias, flaxseeds, avocado, olives. Why? These fats strengthen the cell wall, which serves two purposes:
    1) they acts as a barrier to nasties wanting to get into your cells, and
    2) they act as a pathway for nutrients to move in and out of the cells. These foods also help reduce inflammation in our bodies – and inflammation can increase the look of aging skin.
    omega 3s
    There are many people who can’t eat what is required for a diet rich in Omega 3’s – and if you are one of those there are quality nutritional supplements you can take that can make like easier for yo
    u.  There is much public discussion about the value of supplementation – some say we don’t need it, some say we do. My personal view is that our farming practices are so tainted and our food so reduced in vitamins and minerals, through over farming and use of pesticides, herbicides and even worse, GMO, that supplementation is a necessity for good health (and, for what it’s worth, the American Medical Association agrees). Nutrisearch independent Comparative Guide
    If you do choose supplementation, do yourself a favour and don’t just buy what’s on sale in the supermarket, or even the pharmacy or drug store. Do you research, or check
    ut what I take – I’ve done LOADS of research and have found what I think are the best – and the independent Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements agrees. It pays to be particularly careful of taking fish oil – you want to be guaranteed that the mercury and other toxins, so prevalent in many fish today, have been safely removed.

So these are just a few tips on how to look after your skin. I’m currently writing my first book on keeping your skin healthy and beautiful, and will certainly let you know when you can get a copy when I’m done!

Until then, stay healthy, and care for yourself!

cheers, Meredith

Me in August 2015
Me in August 2015