Multiple studies show that people in a lighter mood experience more eureka moments and greater inspiration.
“I broke my finger last week. On the other hand, I’m okay.”
If you laughed at that joke (of course you did), chances are you are now more likely to think out-of-the-box and experience the highly sought after Eureka! slash AHA! moments.
There are multiple reasons for that.
First of all, you can’t be creative if you hold back ideas because you’re afraid of losing face.
Laughter lightens the mood and relieves tension. Just as it speeds up the bonding process and makes us trust each other faster, which is so important in any kind of team effort.
Laughing together simply helps create a safe place where anything goes, allowing us to think broader and associate ideas and relationships more freely.
It’s a brain thing
Still, this is just one piece of the puzzle. Another equally important part has to do with how our brain works.
Despite what you might think, most people are actually quite linear and logically thinking. In many cases, we can even predict what’s coming in different situations, leaving very little to interpretation.
Yeah, we know. That’s pretty much the opposite of being creative. But then someone tells a joke.
When this happens three parts of our brain light up; the thinking part that helps us get the joke, the area that controls our muscles, and an emotional area that makes us feel good.
So, why is this important?
Well, because numerous studies show that these areas play an active part in nurturing creativity – not least our ability to decipher the joke.
I hate Russian dolls –
they’re so full of themselves.
I told my wife she was
drawing her eyebrows too high.
She looked surprised.
I broke my finger last week.
On the other hand, I’m okay.
Dark humour is like food.
Not everyone gets it.
Working in a mirror factory is something I can totally see myself doing.
Someone stole my Microsoft Office and they’re gonna pay.
You have my word.
I’ve just written a song about tortillas;
well actually, it’s more of a rap.
My grandfather has the heart of a lion…
and a lifetime ban from the local zoo.
The anatomy of a joke
A good joke essentially consists of two parts: the build-up and the punchline. Where the build-up is often pretty straight forward, the punchline typically disobeys conventional expectations.
In other words, it goes in an unexpected direction, which means that to get it, our mind must go in an unexpected direction as well.
With this in mind, creating or understanding humour essentially becomes a process attacking problems from new angles – as opposed to the more traditional and logical approaches – which then again stimulates our creative thinking.
And that right there, is why the hallmark of a really effective brainstorm is an abundance of genuine and heartfelt laughter.
Need a joke to get started? Just pick a few right above ?☺