While many people still doubt the power of the mind, the effectiveness of mind body medicine and mind body techniques such as laughter, also known as humor therapy, positive psychology, and the remarkable impact our moods have on our ability to function, one study has made a significant discovery regarding how positive emotions impact our minds act work.

Given the nature of our current economy in 2011, globally, work place stress is at an all time high. Most corporate policies prohibit employees from watching videos, unless work related on the internet.

However, did you know that watching funny videos on the web at work, perhaps should be something management supports? I’m not surprised that watching humorous videos are not necessarily a wasted of time, because they create a good mood, and enable the viewer to think in a more creative way.

According to Ruby Nadler, a University of Western Ontario graduate student, “Generally, positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem solving and flexible yet careful thinking.” She and colleagues Rahel Rabi and John Paul Minda carried out a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. For this study, Nadler and her colleagues analyzed a particular kind of learning that is improved by creative thinking.

The researchers manipulated mood with help from music clips and video clips; first, they tried several out to find out what made people happiest and saddest. The happiest music was a peppy Mozart piece, and the happiest video was of a laughing baby. College students participating in the study were placed into different moods and then given a category learning task to do (they learned how to categorize picture sets with visually complex patterns).

The researchers then used these in the experiment, along with sad music and video (a piece of music from Schindler’s List and a news report tragedy, an earthquake) and a piece of music and a video that didn’t affect mood. After listening to the music and watching the video, people had to try to learn to recognize a pattern.

Happy volunteers were better at learning a rule to classify the patterns than sad or neutral volunteers. “If you have a project where you want to think in a more innovative way, or you have a problem to carefully consider, being in a positive mood can help you to do that,” Nadler says. And music is an easy way to get into a good mood. Everyone has a different type of music that works for them — don’t feel like you have to switch to Mozart, she says.

Nadler also believes this may be a reason why people like to watch funny videos at work. “I think people are unconsciously trying to put themselves in a positive mood” — so that the appearance of wasting time in fact may be good news for employers.

I believe mind body techniques hold a great potential, in the work place to improve employee moral, health, the work environment, if employers are willing to look beyond their current way of managing employees, as this study clearly suggests.

Click here to learn more about how to improve your mood using laughter and other mind body healing techniques.

Yours in good health,

Elaine R. Ferguson, MD