Laughing Matters: Unleashing Joy with Paul Osincup, Episode #173

After more than a decade of researching humor—and applying it in his own life—Paul Osincup realized it was powerful. Paul became interested in the use of humor to influence, lead, decrease stress, and boost resilience.

There’s a lot written about how good humor is for us. There are so many ways to apply the principles of comedy with positive psychology and neuroscience. But no one tells you how to develop your sense of humor. No one tells you that you can rewire your brain to see the humor in life.

That’s why Paul is on a global mission for workplace happiness that has provided him the opportunity to work with hundreds of organizations including Google, The U.S. Army, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Leadership.

Listen in for some great takeaways about how humor and laughter can help your company meet and exceed its business goals.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Learn all about Paul Osincup [2:44]
  • What is a Humor Strategist? [5:20]
  • Injecting humor into presentations [9:09]
  • Why “Leading with laughter” is critical [11:08]
  • How to balance being credible and comical [12:40]
  • Why you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously [14:53]
  • Grab a copy of “Financial Planning Made Personal” [18:04]
  • What are the benefits of laughter? [18:46]
  • Why Paul wrote “The Humor Habit” [21:31]
  • How to implement humor in your life [23:10]
  • Life is too important to take seriously [25:14]
  • What Paul did today that put him in the mindset for success [28:51]

What is a Humor Strategist?

Paul has studied the impact of humor on business, work, relationships, and productivity. As a humor strategist, he combines neuroscience and positive psychology research with ways to use humor. Paul shares ways to develop and use your sense of humor strategically to decrease stress, enhance performance, and build relationships.

Paul hosted a workshop where they were talking about taking your pain and “playing” with it. One strategy is the “What I could have said” game. Where were you negative? Where did you let stress get to you?

A manager recalled a lunch meeting she was supposed to attend with colleagues. An email went out detailing a new location for the meeting to everyone but her. She ended up eating lunch by herself. Her coworkers were apologetic—and though she knew it was an accident—she let it affect the rest of her day.

Looking back, she knew she could have handled it with humor and let it go. An alternate response to the situation (injected with humor) could’ve been: “Thank you. That’s the first hour I’ve had to myself in 20 years.”

Research shows that when you look back at stressful moments in your life and re-appraise them using humor, it can lead to an increase in positive emotions and a decrease in negative emotions.

Why “Leading with laughter” is critical

Being in a leadership role typically means a heavier burden, more responsibility, and more stress. But when you can lead with laughter, it helps alleviate your burden. Paul also points out that leaders who use a sense of humor at work have more productive and more engaged teams. They’re also seen as more competent and credible.

We spend ⅓ of our lives at work. Our sense of humor is part of our identity. It’s crucial to who we are. We can’t leave it completely outside of the workplace. Doing so would crush the human spirit. If you’re bringing authenticity into leadership, a sense of humor is included.

But is there a line you shouldn’t cross? Is there a balance? Work ethic and sense of humor are important. But Paul likes to say “You can’t prioritize punchlines over deadlines.” Listen to hear his thoughts.

Laughing Matters: The benefits of laughter

When we find something amusing—and laugh—a happiness cocktail of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins flood our brains. Secondly, the stress hormone, cortisol, decreases when we laugh. These chemicals give you a psychological reset.

People who take a 15-minute break at work see increased productivity after that break. People who take a break and watch funny videos are twice as productive once they return to work. People who have a habit of coping with humor are more optimistic and positive and have a great sense of resilience.

Paul has a great tip: Make the last thing you watch every day humorous. Replace stress-inducing hormones with stress reducing hormones. Cleanse your palate with laughs.

Why did Paul write his new book, “The Humor Habit?” How can you train your brain to see more humor in life? Listen to this episode to learn how to infuse more joy in your life.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Paul Osincup


Paul Osincup is a Speaker, Corporate Trainer, and Humor Strategist who helps organizations create happier, healthier, and more connected places to work. He is also the author of the forthcoming book (April), The Humor Habit. A “Jack of all Jokes” since grade school, Paul went on to build a career in comedy (even winning a stand-up comedy contest) and became interested in the use of humor to influence, lead, decrease stress, and boost resilience. Now, he’s on a global mission for workplace happiness that has provided him the opportunity to work with hundreds of organizations including Google, The U.S. Army, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Leadership. Paul is also a content creator for Happify, an app that provides evidence-based solutions for emotional health and well-being for over 17 million users. His first TEDx Talk on the Power of Humor in Leadership is used in corporate and collegiate leadership courses around the world and his next is soon to be released. He is a certified Stress Master Educator and the Past President of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, an international organization dedicated to the study and application of humor to enhance health and human performance. Paul’s work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Forbes, and on his mom’s refrigerator.

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Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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