Lightening the Load: Laughter in The Workplace


In the relentless pursuit of a thriving workplace, fostering an environment where laughter reverberates becomes more than a nicety—it’s a strategic investment in the well-being and productivity of your team. This edition of the Atrium Wellness newsletter explores the science-backed health benefits of laughter in the workplace and provides actionable tips to infuse more laughter into our daily routines.

The Science Behind Workplace Laughter:

Reduced Stress and Cortisol Levels:

  • Scientific studies, such as the research conducted by Dr. Lee Berk (2010), demonstrate that laughter can significantly reduce stress hormone levels, including cortisol. Berk’s work, commonly known as the “Laughter Prescription,” underscores how laughter serves as a potent stress-reliever, contributing to improved overall well-being.

Enhanced Cardiovascular Health:

  • Dr. Michael Miller’s study (2009) delves into laughter’s positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Laughing induces the expansion of blood vessels, promoting improved blood flow and better cardiovascular health.

Boosted Immune System:

  • Dr. Paul Zak’s research (2013) highlights the neurochemical benefits of laughter, particularly its role in releasing oxytocin. This hormone enhances trust, social bonding and immune function.

Tips to Infuse Laughter Into Your Workday:

Humor Breaks:

  • Schedule short breaks for employees to engage in light-hearted activities. Share funny videos, comics or jokes to encourage laughter and provide a mental respite.

Laughter Yoga Sessions:

  • Consider organizing laughter yoga sessions during breaks or as part of team-building activities. Laughter yoga combines laughter exercises with deep-breathing techniques, promoting both physical and mental well-being. See below for more details on this science-backed health tool. 

Celebrate Achievements with Laughter:

  • Introduce humour into celebrations and recognitions. Whether through humorous awards or light-hearted speeches, infusing laughter into achievements fosters a positive and uplifting environment.

Incorporate Humor in Communication:

  • Encourage a light and humorous tone in internal communications when appropriate.  Injecting humor into emails, announcements or meetings can make communication more engaging and enjoyable for everyone. This seems like it goes without saying, but tone is important in digital communication. Understand when to use humor where it can create a positive impact to help reduce stress. 

In conclusion, laughter isn’t just a delightful noise in the workplace, and it doesn’t mean employees aren’t concentrating or doing their job. Quite the contrary! Laughter can be a powerful catalyst for improved health, reduced stress and enhanced team dynamics. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can collectively contribute to a workplace that thrives on positivity and well-being.

Here’s to a workplace where laughter is not just a sound but a shared expression of a healthy and vibrant community!


  • Berk, L. S., Felten, D. L., Tan, S. A., Bittman, B. B., & Westengard, J. (2001). Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during the eustress of humor-associated mirthful laughter. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine,7(2), 62-72. 
  • Miller, M., Mangano, C., Park, Y., Goel, R., Plotnick, G. D., & Vogel, R. A. (2006). Impact of cinematic viewing on endothelial function. Heart, 95(2), 262-266.
  • Zak, P. J., Kurzban, R., & Matzner, W. T. (2005). Oxytocin is associated with human trustworthiness. Hormones and Behavior, 48(5), 522-527.