I’ll be the first to tell you – improv isn’t all about comedy and making people laugh. However, improv can be a great tool for humor and is how most people are introduced to it. My own introduction to improv involved using it and comedy as coping mechanisms for the challenges life was throwing my way.
The fundamentals of improv have been a literal lifesaver for me in helping me deal with extremely stressful situations throughout my life. Stress is an everyday thing, and it can come from many sources. Some are the result of daily frustrations, while others come from unexpected challenges.
Do you remember the song, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?” Mary Poppins was onto something. To digest something undesirable, but necessary, combine it with something sweet. You can take this advice literally, but if you’d rather not indulge in a sugar binge, why not give humor a try?
In a Forbes article by Jacquelyn Smith titled “10 Reasons Why Humor Is a Key to Success at Work,” she cites some statistics that validate the importance of humor. She writes, “Kerr says dozens of surveys suggest that humor can be at least one of the keys to success. A Robert Half International survey, for instance, found that 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. Another study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic, and a good sense of humor.”
Humor doesn’t have to mean an on-the-job standup routine. It can be present in how you finish off an email, or a brief quip in passing to a colleague. It can also be expressed in kind and tasteful pranks. Laughter is a proven antidote for stress, and it comes naturally when the company culture is conducive to it. So be a part of it.