My friend @nalinib22 has been on a month long mindfulness challenge (follow her on twitter @purpultat to know more) as a way to raise awareness and funds for The Nudge (https://www.thenudge.org). One of her topics, Laughter, got me all excited and I wanted to be part of her journey for 3 days of relearning laughter.
If you are interested in donating : ket.to/nudgenow
So here goes my experiences and thoughts on 3 days of trying to laugh more !
Day 1 (Sunday) :
Day 1 went well, no office so I was generally more cheerful. I had all the time in the world to keep myself in good spirits by watching YouTube videos and making fun of random people’s clothes !
Day 2 (Monday):
Mondays are usually boring. Work was normal, my colleagues were a bit surprised to see me laughing for everything, but no one really said anything. And by noon, they had resigned themselves to my mood and joined along for a few laughs.
Day 3 (Tuesday):
Tuesday was hard, work was particularly bitchy, we were trying to do something and it wasn’t working for no goddamn reason. In the first half I was all frustrated, but during the second half, I did some retrospection and decided to lighten up the mood. I pointed out the funny side of the shit that was going on and people actually joined in. In some time, the mood lightened a little and then work wasn’t so bad. We still ended up working late, but it was not as bad as before
Here are some of my thoughts on why we don’t laugh so much any more:
1) We always live mentally either in the past or the future. We are thinking about what we should have done, or should be doing and in the process we lose the present. Living in the present is not easy, its probably the most difficult thing to do. But that is the most effective way to get the most out of the present and in the process also laugh more. So get started on that route.
2) In a professional space, I find that people who are serious are considered to be more efficient. People who laugh more freely are considered to be easy going about their work. But I also think its a prejudice that takes very little time to break. On the flip side, cheerful people are much more approachable and hence collaborate much better with other folks
3) Ever heard the story of how Draupadi laughed at Duryodhana and that enraged him so much that he swore revenge? This story has been told to all girls with the moral : do not laugh too much, girls shouldnt laugh loudly, girls should be dignified etc. And hence women are judged more harshly when they are laugh loudly. These are all subtle judgements that get passed, nothing overt is ever said but you just know that you are being judged
So, how do women get past this? I think you should just be. Stop caring about what people think. Over a period of time people around you will look past these so called quirks (according to some these are quirks) and see the true personality within. And if its a professional environment, your performance speaks more than anything else. So go ahead and just be yourself !
And cheerfulness spreads. If one person of a team is cheerful, ir rubs off. And having a cheerful person on board is way better than having a sourpuss.
So go ahead and laugh more, laugh loudly and see how it changes the world around you !