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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

The Importance of Leisure, Play, and Laughter in Career Development

30 Dec 2015 10:35 AM | Anonymous

By Nancy Miller, M.S. 
Creative Lifework Design

“A healthy lifestyle gives you the energy and robust glow that attracts people to you and makes an employer want to hire you. You command trust and confidence when your posture and expression show your health and happiness.” Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success.

Leisure, laughter, and play for adults are not often taken seriously, but these attributes are so important for life and career success that companies who want to attract and keep top employees often incorporate play, leisure activities, and socializing into their work cultures. When these fun activities become a part of daily routines, then self-esteem, health, and well-being are increased.

Career professionals, job seekers, entrepreneurs, and employees work more effectively when they practice healthy habits. What would a healthy lifestyle look like? What would you be doing?

Leisure, laughter, and play activities would be an important part of your healthy lifestyle for more effectiveness in your business, job search, and work. The key is to embrace those active fun moments throughout the day.

Leisure is important for career management.

Leisure is one of the “10 Ways to Model a Healthy Lifestyle for More Effective Career Services”, Leisure activities, hobbies, and interests outside of work give you something to talk about for networking, building trust, and developing relationships. Leisure activities have several benefits for career management:

Shows you are active and interesting.

  • Connects you with others of like interests.
  • Gives you a sense of purpose for living for its own sake (Dattilo, 2002).
  • Leisure empowers you to discover interests and clarify values.

Leisure is important for career professionals to practice and teach clients and students. People with disabilities and challenges to employment benefit from organized leisure activities as part of their career development.

The National Career Development Association’s Policy and Procedures Manual includes leisure as one of the important elements for a career guidance program. Leisure activities assist individuals in assimilating and integrating knowledge, experience, and appreciation of the part leisure time may play in a person’s life, as well as developing an understanding of the information and skills necessary to achieve self-fulfillment in work and leisure. NCDA Policy and Procedure Manual 2013-2014 (Revised September 2013 pg. 7-9).

Leisure activities are part of a healthy lifestyle that can be modeled by career counselors and facilitators as well as being experienced by professionals and job seekers.

It’s funny that laughter can make you more successful.

Laughter is a universal language and usually occurs with social interaction. Laughter doesn’t require thinking; it comes naturally at an early age. Networking, interviewing, interacting with customers and colleagues, are all social activities enhanced by the occasional appropriate smiles and, yes, laughter. Although it is not appropriate in all situations, when you get in the habit of smiling and laughing, it will come naturally and enhance your relationships.

Smiles and laughter connect people in their life, work, and job search. Dr. Phillip Glenn combed through fifteen different job interviews, and analyzed the social dynamics of laughing.  Laughter was shown to be a tool to build rapport, and interviewees who responded with laughter appropriately were more successful (

Laughing is part of a healthy lifestyle. A hardy laugh increases oxygen, helps reduce stress, and done long enough can even be healthy exercise for people of all ages and abilities.

Laughter really is the best medicine, says Dr. Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center. Based on a study of heart healthy de-stress activities, he says it is important to exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day (

Play is refreshing.

Most of the literature and government programs emphasize the importance of play for children. Play is just as important for adults for the same reasons: freedom, fun, fitness, stress relief, relationships, energy, and general well- being.

When you incorporate play and delight in your life and work you will attract customers, employers, and friends that will help you and your business grow and excel. You can play with your kids, grandkids, pets, friends, and family, and appreciate playfulness in yourself and others. Get in the habit of having fun moments. Stretching, running, jumping, and laughing with kids is the most exhilarating exercise I have found. It hits all of my senses at once ( 

“By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, you can reap the myriad of health benefits throughout life.” The Promise of Play.

Actively playing relieves stress, improves learning and creativity, increases energy, and enhances productivity.

“Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable” (

A healthy lifestyle is very important for career professionals, entrepreneurs, and job seekers. Leisure activities, laughing, and playing are all active de-stress exercises that improve attitude, health, and happiness.


Dattilo, John. Inclusive Leisure Services: Responding to the Rights of People With Disabilities. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc. 2002

Miller, Nancy J. Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success. Elk Grove, CA: Teal Publishing. 2012

The Promise of Play: A Report from the 2010 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival. Accessed 9/10/14

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