Laughter is a great way to respond in times hardship.

  • By your mid-20s you’ve started laughing a lot less than you used to.
  • Laughter helps people bond, promotes inclusiveness and fosters creativity.
  • You don’t have to be a comedian; just being open to humour is enough.

If you feel like there’s not much to laugh about right now, you’re probably not alone. But there are sound, scientific reasons to reach for the gags even if you don’t feel like it, and especially at work.

That’s according to two Stanford University academics who have examined the effects of laughter in the workplace and concluded it makes us better bosses and better employees.

The study was a truly global one: 1.4 million people in 166 countries. One of the things it found was that around the age of 23, people everywhere start to laugh less.“So basically, when we enter the workforce we fall off a humour cliff,” Stanford psychology professor Jennifer Aaker said in an interview with The Times. “We don’t start laughing again until 70. So that’s 47 very serious years.”

Studies have shown laughter can decrease stress hormones in the blood, as well as increase our “feel-good” chemicals, endorphins. It could even have a positive effect on the immune system.And in addition to any potential health benefits of laughter, it also plays an underrated role in strengthening workplace bonds.

“We have research to show that humour, when you’re at work, is not only helpful for increasing people’s respect for you, but also for building bonds and sparking creativity so you can think in very different ways,” Professor Aaker told The Times.