Mr Avi Liran (left) and Mr Lenny Ravich want to help people overcome negative encounters in their lives.

Mr Lenny Ravich, 72, has spent a lifetime making people laugh. He believes that to be successful at what you do, you have to adopt a healthy attitude.

'You have to make yourself feel good and once you do that, your life also becomes good,' he said.

Mr Ravich, director of the Gestalt Institute of Tel-Aviv, Israel, was in Singapore recently to facilitate a series of workshops and seminars to demonstrate how humour and laughter make for better management.

Studies have shown that laughter, humour, optimism and self-esteem can have positive results on health. MrRavich is well-known for his stand-up routines and workshops aimed at teaching individuals and organisations to develop the self-esteem required to laugh at themselves.

'I remind people that behind that suit, tie and management-speak, there is also a person,' he said.

Mr Ravich is also the author of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Enlightenment, which outlines how comic vision can help people deal with stress, loss and other emotional problems.

In Singapore, he was partnered by MrAvi Liran, 45, a laughter yoga therapist, who conducts optimism workshops. Mr Liran, who is based in Singapore, conducts these workshops in the Asia Pacific region.

He told Mind Your Body that the workshops are based on the belief that optimism can be learned. They draw from US psychologist Martin Seligman's research on positive psychology, which shows that being aware of one's strengths and blessings, does make people happier.

The duo's workshops, which ran over five days, were aimed at helping people achieve detachment from the slings and arrows of everyday negative encounters and to help them take control of their lives.

Mr Liran explained how people can get bogged down by work, particularly those in the service industry who deal with tough situations and customers on a daily basis.

'Everything is a relationship, how you relate, how you make people feel,' MrLiran said.

When it comes to dealing with difficult situations at work, one of the strategies the duo employs is to tell people to think of the two worst things that happened in their professional lives and write them down at the start of the workshop.

'At the end of the day, when we have laughed about a number of things, we ask them to look at what they have written and ask, is it really that bad?'

The majority of them change their perception of the bad things that happened and are able to let go of the hurt attached to those events.

'The first thing that people do when they encounter a problem is to stick it here,' MrLiran said, putting his palm bang in front of his face, where it blocked his eyes.

'What can I see here? I've lost a lot of visibility. The problem is the only thing engaging me,' he said.

Mr Liran said it is possible for people to disengage from the things that happen to them and look instead at the decision they make about how they are going to engage those things - be it a work deadline or personal problem.

Describing an encounter with a taxi driver, MrRavich described how he was caught in a bad traffic jam with upset people honking away. The taxi driver, meanwhile, sang songs and looked unruffled.

'I asked him how he managed and he said, 'I used to get upset at traffic jams until I realised that the traffic jam doesn't care',' MrRavich said.

To him, this is a perfect example of detachment. He tells people that reality doesn't care how you react and gives them a simple equation: E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome).

'While you cannot change the reality, you can change the way you react to that reality and hence, the outcome,' he said.

At work, this means itemising, prioritising and injecting laughter and action in place of catastrophic thinking and worry.