Fun’s not just for the fun of it!

So first session today at the CIPD L&D Show and I’ve chosen to come to the Science of Happiness: motivating and inspiring individuals, teams and orgs with Stephanie Davies, Director & Founder of Laughology.

Who loves a really good laugh? It’s good for us on many levels and Stephanie focuses on laughter and happiness.

She’s got the delegates participating already, raising the energy – just the tonic for first thing in the morning!

Currently reminding me slightly of a comedian – oh, turns out she used to be one!

She learnt that it helped you to flip situations on their head to turn a bad situation into something positive. Arguments with her boyfriend became some great material for her show!

Comedians don’t tell jokes, they tell stories that throw everyday things up in the air, help you see them in a different way and normalises them – makes you think ‘it’s ok’.

Humans are motivated by how we feel. That famous quote – people forget what you do and say but not how you made them feel (not quite quoted accurately there!)

We sometimes do things based on feelings and then regret it later.

Stephanie is asking what is laughter compared to humour? Even using flip chart – love it!!
Laughter – a reaction, contagious, energy, feel-good but sometimes just a communication tool to let others know how we feel – an innate ability from birth – even the polite/embarrassed laugh when you don’t understand what somebody’s said after 3 times of asking! It can even be a reaction to shock – our emotional response, coping mechanism
Humour – a trigger, interpretation of a situation, developed & taught as we grow older, a system for processing information

What comes first, success or happiness? – if happiness comes first it’s likely to be more sustainable. Success first tends to be more short-term happiness based on that one success.
What advice would you give on your death bed? More likely to ‘be happy’ but then why do we spend our time striving to be successful? Do we all think success will drive happiness?

Recent research by the government showed that people are happier where there’s less success, but those who are happy are more likely to get themselves out of that situation to be successful!

Neither happiness or success is sustainable all the time.

So, what is happiness? Big philosophical question but rapid-discussion in the room.
An attitude to life that helps you ‘handle stuff’, be resilient – a link back to yesterday’s session where the leaders who deal best with challenging situations will choose their attitude – choose to be hopeful. Maybe not as far as happiness in that moment but definitely choosing a positive response.

Self belief and self love, connecting to your inner joy – you’re likely to be more consistently happy if you’re in this place.

Key elements of happiness –

What do you see and hear at work? What’s it like when people talk to each other? How often do you see people talking and listening to each other? Do people feel heard? Do people feel valued?

A lot of this links to the theory of Human Givens.

And how we feel affects how we live our lives and whether we spend our lives in states of anxiety, boredom or flow, or mixing among these.

Fun exercise – 1,2,3 then woof, 2, 3 then woof, tap, 3, then woof, raspberry, bleat like a sheep! – alternating with your partner – much laughter!!

People recognised that this created energy, laugher, it was ok to get stuff wrong, people were connecting with the person next to them who they’d never met before.

Laughter and happy people = happy customers = positive bottom line results

Smile – turn your people on before you turn your computer on
Motivating magic – create opportunities for flow
Impulse – some of the best stuff happens in those fleeting moments of brilliance
Laugher – more of this helps mindset
Empower – give people more ownership

If we want to get different results we need to recognise our emotional reactions and think about how we can FLIP those –
Focus – on the situation
Language – simple language. Corporate speak isn’t impressive, it just disengages
Imagination – what’s possible, where are people’s thoughts going to for worse scenarios – what are they imagining could happen because they haven’t been spoken to in simple, straight language? There are many parts of our life where we do what we’ve always done because that’s how we were taught. Processes and systems that teach a certain way to behave sometimes need to be broken away from – imagining different ways
Pattern Breaking – even just doing one different thing tomorrow will start to make a change

Sometimes we need to learn from children – a lot of this is seen in them. The difference as an adult is having the emotional intelligence to manage your reactions – tantrums probably won’t get you being so successful!

Final thought from Stephanie – some people create happiness when they walk into a room, some people create it when they leave. Choose which you want to be.

A refreshing session for its delivery – energising, engaging, involving. Feels like people have learnt some new ways of thinking about the impact of happiness at work.

Continues the theme of engaging with people at a human level – leaders need to be human, employees need to feel they can be human. If we do this, we can be happy and enjoy what we do, and deliver success!

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