“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
~Ronald Dahl

I’ve come to realize I take myself too seriously. Way too seriously.

I’ve come to realize many of us do.

More and more research is showing that nonsense serves us well. Even the Mayo Clinic has written about the stress release of laughter, and yet we’re somehow compelled to approach ourselves, our work, our relationships – our everything – as if our lives depended on it.

In some ways it does. It’s important to bring our best selves to everything we do and to do our best whenever we can. That is a large part of what makes us – and the world – successful.

And yet, we also need to find that fine balance between trying our best and trying to be our best and taking a step back and finding a bit of absurdity or play in every situation. Or at least many situations.

Because laughter actually increases the endorphins released by our brain and our intake of oxygen. It improves our immune system and soothes our tension. It can even increase our sense of personal satisfaction and improve our mood. It certainly can ease a situation and bring people together.

Leaders are learning that bringing fun and play to their teams can be a great way to bring people together…which can strengthen the team as well as the team’s results. (Here are few ideas on making your office more fun from Fast Company.) Taking a moment to laugh or relax together increases the pleasant (and powerful) associations we have about the people we’re with, which makes getting through the harder times a bit easier and the easier times more productive.

I can get caught in seeing myself and the task in front of me as SERIOUS, but I’ve learned to recognize that, pull myself back, and remind myself to look for a bit of levity to bring oxygen – and new possibilities – to my brain. I’ve learned to ask myself, “How important is this right now?” and to look for a bit of nonsense in the world around me. When we smile, our brain thinks we’re happy, and the mental and physical sense of release that happiness gives us is a much-needed break from the seriousness around us. And this much-needed break refreshes us to dive back in stronger and more open to new ideas, solutions, and options.

So stop taking yourself so seriously and look for a little bit of levity. I will as soon as I finish this deadly important task in front of me.

How have you learned to let a little nonsense into your life?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in finding levity, laughter, and lightness, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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