Play at Work

Penny Nesbitt_Play at Work Email Header.jpg

Optimism. Look it up. Because interestingly, apart from meaning a tendency to look on the more favourable side of events and to expect the most favourable outcome, the root of the word is from the Latin word for the greatest good of mankind.

When things go pear shaped at work, realistic optimism is about garnering what resources you have, learning what you can from things that went wrong or from unexpected events, letting bygones be bygones and taking a sort of a ‘here’s what we’ve got, here’s where we’re going … what if … ’ future-focused view of the world.

It’s also about ‘hanging on to your knife and fork’, because as we know, that means there are more goodies coming.

Here’s just a few of the free, absolutely no-cost, resilience-building, stress-reducing, immunity-boosting side effects of having a laugh, of being a bit lighthearted and playful at work:

·       A cocktail of fabulous hormones is released including endorphins, serotonin and growth hormone all of which boost your immune system (told you this was about more than that annual flu shot)

·       Stimulates circulation and helps relax your muscles

·       Decreases the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline – a counter to those shocking stats about Monday morning heart attacks

·       Laughter can also provide a safe, non-threatening way to shift blocked feelings and emotions that, over time, can lead to mental and physical stress and depression. (Many’s the time as a social worker that I sat with bereaved relatives who, in between tears, had us all laughing out loud as they related funny stories about their loved one)

And here’s one added extra in case you’re still on the fence about having a bit of a laugh. A University of Pennsylvania research study[1] found that playfulness makes both men and women more attractive to the opposite sex!

- Penny Nesbitt

[1] Adult Play and Sexual Selection, Dr. Garry Chick, Pennsylvania State University Scholarpedia, 2013