Use this Ultimate Stress Buster

Written by Melissa Kessler, MA, PCC

When we are under chronic stress, even low levels, it affects our ability to be effective leaders, parents, partners and human beings in general. Stress brings out the worst in us. We become emotionally charged and it rubs off on our subordinates, co-workers, and family members, thus causing them stress. We don’t perform at our best under stress, resulting in the potential loss of customers, business and relationships.

So what is the ultimate way to beat stress each day? Laughter – laugh as much as possible each day. This used to be so natural to us when we were children. When did we become so serious? The average 4-year-old laughs 300 times a day, while the average 40-year-old laughs only 4 times a day according to an article in Psychology Today.  See full article. Laughter really is good medicine. It releases endorphins, improves blood flow, relaxes us, and just makes us feel good.

Here are 10 ways to incorporate more laughter into your life:

  • Listen to comedy CDs or funny morning shows on the radio during your morning commute.
  • Keep a joke-a-day calendar on your desk at work.
  • Take mini-breaks at work to watch funny videos on the internet such as this one.
  • Watch funny sitcoms or “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
  • Read humorous books or magazines.
  • Surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
  • Take time to see the humor in situations that may appear to be dreadful mistakes or embarrassing mishaps. They are usually pretty funny after the fact.
  • At dinner, ask each family member to describe the funniest thing that happened during the day and share a laugh.
  • Go see comedies at the movie theater or go a comedy show.
  • Practice being present with your children or pets. Their innocence and joy provide endless opportunities for laughter.

As Benjamin Zander states in the book “The Art of Possibility,” always remember Rule #6: don’t take yourself so seriously. When we take ourselves too seriously, life feels very heavy and burdensome. Lighten it up with laughter. You will truly not only feel better, but you will decrease your stress level and improve your overall health as well.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.”  – Michael Pritchard

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