The Power of H.A.L.T.

In the past year, I chose to engage in the power of H.A.L.T. in an effort to let go of my attachment to over–seriousness. Yes, I confess. I tend to lean into being intense, deep and serious a little more often than I’d like.  I prefer to reference these traits as thoughtful, reflective and passionate as it sounds more positive. Truth be told, I don’t want to abandon these gifts of mine, yet I recognize my genuine desire is to strike a balance, catch myself, H.A.L.T. and lighten up. Why? I love being around funny people as they have a knack for making situations feel more effortless – and I love humor. It brings out my lighter side. 

What about you? Do you tend to become over serious at work with your boss, peers, staff or customers when something goes wrong, and do you get especially agitated and annoyed? Or in your personal life with your family members and friends? What impact does over – seriousness have on your interpersonal communication style and the mood of everyone around you, as well as your own? 

If you find your over – seriousness is not serving you well these days, consider this instead. 

Choose the power of H.A.L.T. – HAVE A LAUGH TODAY! 

Let’s start now and watch the first 2 minutes of this Jerry Seinfeld video for a good laugh about “doing nothing” (NOTE: The video is 40+ minutes in its entirety, so keep watching if you want even more laughter! 😊)

What is the power of H.A.L.T., and why embrace it? The power of H.A.L.T is to stop the train of thought that’s going to take you down a dark alley in your mind. I suggest that whenever you find yourself stuck in being over – serious about anything or anyone, stop yourself in your tracks and have a laugh instead. 

The most important insight I’ve gained about this has worked wonders for myself and those I admire who show up with their lighter side: LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF.  Be open to imperfection and humility and the confidence that comes with being able to do this gracefully. And be mindful not to make others the butt of a good joke unless you already have earned their trust and have established a good rapport. If you can laugh at your own seriousness first, chances are the other person may too. 

Research shows the incredible benefits and healing power of laughter. As the saying goes, “laughter IS the best medicine.” In fact, at the innocent age of 8, my younger son, who I’d say is the lightest one in our family, was asked to do a research project on any topic of his choice – he picked laughter and I begged him to let me in on the research. The truth is I crave laughter in a big way. We had a lot of fun as I learned the benefits along with him. 

During our research, most fascinating to me is the notion that children under the age of 10 laugh on average 300 times a day, whereas adults laugh on average 20 times a day. Clearly, we grow more serious with age.  

Here are the benefits to the power of H.A.L.T.; 

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. 

As a certified Marshall Goldsmith stakeholder-centered coach, I was drawn to follow Marshall Goldsmith, the #1 coach globally and amongst the top 50 Thinkers of our time. Like thousands of others, I value his methodology not only for his brilliance and commitment to the field of behavioral change in great leaders, but for the lightness of his touch in helping others grow. He has taken what can be a very serious business and made it fun, even as he’s brutally honest. For example, in attempting to have a leader stop using the words NO, BUT, or HOWEVER, he warns the leader he will charge them $50 every time they do. As a result, he’s helped hundreds of CEO’s change this behavior by paying up for each transgression.

Another laughter movement that I foresee potentially growing in response to business disruption, resulting in both innovation and chaos and employee burnout, is to use more humor in the workplace. A duo of female Stanford University graduates who recently launched their new bestseller in February 2021 titled, “Humor Seriously: Why Humor is the Secret Weapon in Business and in Life,” drives home the point that even prominent leaders need to lighten up to create more productive and satisfying work environments. Take this quiz to find out your humor score.

So, are you sold? I hope so! Try it, and if not, I will gladly refund you your misery. 

Please drop me an email and let me know what you enjoyed about the article and how having more humor is helping positively impact you in life and work. I’d love to hear from you. 

Are you ready to take action and be accountable for your desired results?

Do you want challenge yourself to grow professionally and personally? If your answer is YES to both for creating sustainable change, then contact Nancy to learn more about the steps for getting there.

Posted in
Nancy Friedberg

Nancy Friedberg, M.A.

Master Coach and President, Career Leverage, Inc.
Marshall Goldsmith Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach
Certified Now What? Facilitator

Leave a Comment