Lighten up a little at work, because being stressed out is no joke.

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Want to decrease stress, improve your health and increase your social interaction among colleagues? Try laughing more at the office.

Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Do you spend enough time laughing during the workday?

Maybe laughter is the secret to loving your job. Here are four ways to lighten up your workplace:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. We all could probably “find ways to take ourselves less seriously,” recommends Michael Miller, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The next time the project team you’re leading hits what feels like an insurmountable obstacle, find something funny about the situation and then laugh your way to figuring out a creative solution.

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Make it OK for others to laugh at work. Once when I was kicking off a sales training session, I noticed people were staring at my knees. One person said, “Sorry to interrupt, Lisa, but what’s that bulge in your left leg?” I looked down and saw a strange bump in my pants, below my left knee. When I reached into my pant leg, I pulled out two fabric-softener sheets that were bunched together.

I started laughing so hard I almost couldn’t stop. With tears in my eyes, I said, “Well, thank heavens — I was worried I was going to pull out a pair of my underwear.” By laughing at myself, I made it OK for everyone in the room to laugh.

Find humor in difficult or stressful situations. Emily C. learned the importance in finding humor during stressful career situations and shared this funny story: “While I was walking out to my car after a job interview, I looked down and noticed that the underwire from my bra had somehow worked its way out and was poking up from the top of my blouse. I was mortified. Luckily, it was all women interviewing me — and they hired me for the job.”

Attend a Laughter Yoga Club. Laughter Yoga is gaining in popularity in companies throughout the world. It combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing and was launched in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria.

According to Dr. Kataria, the practice “is a powerful force for improving staff performance at the workplace” by reducing stress. Laughter Yoga Clubs are free and run by volunteers trained as Laughter Yoga Teachers and Leaders.

Lighten up a little at work, because being stressed out is no joke.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at