The Number One Way to Eliminate Daily Stress by Sandy Baker Word Count: 1154 Like it or not, stress is an inevitable part of life. From the working mom trying to juggle a career and three active children to the busy executive climbing up the corporate ladder, stress takes a daily toll on all of us. How you deal with it, though, quickly determines your overall health. Handle stress well and you’re blessed with a hearty and happy life; handle it poorly and you’re a heart attack waiting to happen. Take a look at these very real scenarios and consider how you would handle each one: It’s 3:30pm. You’ve been at your computer working on a proposal for a huge client for a good four hours and finally have it just the way you want it. Satisfied, you sneak off to the office water cooler to grab a quick drink and a healthy dose of gossip. As you walk back to your office, the power in the entire building flickers for a brief moment. To your dismay, the flicker was long enough to cause your computer to reboot, also causing your unsaved proposal to be gone forever. Or . . . After enjoying a restful night’s sleep, you awake feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the busy day you have planned for yourself, which includes shuttling each of your four children to various activities and promoting your new home-based business. Since your children are still sleeping, you decide to tackle the business projects first. As you make your way down to the basement, where your home office is located, you hear a strange noise--almost like running water--and notice a damp, wet feeling in the air. When you reach the bottom of the stairs, you discover that your entire home office is flooded thanks to a broken water pipe. No one can deny that the above scenarios would cause stress in anyone’s day. So if any of them were to happen to you, what would you do? Cry? Yell? Give up in despair? According to psychologists, those are the worst reactions you can have. They foster a negative attitude and add undo stress to your body. So what’s the best thing you can do to relieve these and other stresses? Laugh! A Laugh a Day . . . While laughing during stressful times doesn’t sound like a natural response, it certainly will diminish the emotional stress of any situation. Why? Because laughing makes us feel good. Think about it. When you laugh, doesn’t your attitude change dramatically? Most everyone’s does. Whether you’re watching a sitcom and trying to get your mind off a bad situation or reading a funny email from a friend during a hectic day, the mere act of laughing puts you at ease and makes the world around you seem not so bad. If that’s not proof enough, consider this: laughing and keeping a sense of humor during trying times are key traits found in many high achievers. These people know that success comes quicker to those who don’t let stress ruin their day or their business. So if you want to be viewed as a competent, knowledgeable, and "on-track" individual, then laugh! For many people, though, the thought of loosing a whole day’s worth of work thanks to the power company’s lapse in service can’t possibly bring a smile to their face. In that case, the best thing to do when confronted with a stressful situation is step back, take a deep breath, and then force yourself to laugh. According to many psychologists, you can put yourself in a good mood by laughing, even if you have to fake it. Contrary to popular belief, we’re happy because we laugh, not the other way around. After a good laugh, you’ll be better able to deal with the situation at hand. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Work while forcing laughter will get you through the current stressful situation, why not make it even easier to see the funny side of any obstacle by incorporating humor into your daily life? There are a number of things you can do to keep yourself in a comic state of mind. 1. When you need a quick laugh, pull one out of your "funny jar." What? You don’t have a "funny jar?" Start one today. Take an old jar and label it "Funny Jar." Decorate the label as whimsical as you like. Whenever you hear a funny joke, a humorous story, or have something funny happen to you during the day, write it on a piece of paper and place it in your "funny jar." Get the jar as full as you possibly can. Then, whenever you need to lighten the mood, reach for your funny jar, read one of your humorous anecdotes, and laugh. You’ll be amazed at how a quick joke can make you feel better. 2. Furnish your office and home with humor. By keeping funny material at hand during the day, you make humor more accessible to your brain. Decorate your living and work spaces with anything that puts a smile on your face. Hang up a funny poster, place a funny picture on your desk, tack up the Sunday Comics on the wall . . . it’s totally up to you. Make your surroundings a breeding ground for humor. 3. Share funny stories with others. When you get a good joke via email, don’t delete it; pass it on to others. When you hear a funny story from a family member, repeat it to a client or friend. By sharing your humor with others, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate and fuel your humorous atmosphere. 4. Surf the web for a good laugh. If you can’t think of a funny story to inspire you, log on to the Internet and type the word "humor" into any search browser. From there you’ll find a good joke or humorous story to fit any situation. 5. Take a few lessons from the pros. Chances are you have a favorite comedian or two. If so, use them as inspiration. When life is getting you stressed or you find yourself ankle-deep in a home or office disaster, ask yourself, "How would my favorite comedian portray this situation?" You don’t have to be Jerry Seinfeld or Ellen DeGeneres to find the humor in everyday life. He Who Laughs Last . . . Will laughing magically make your stressful situation disappear? Of course not. After your good laugh you’ll still need to deal with the situation at hand, but a healthy sense of humor will make any situation much easier to bear. As philosopher Sean O’Casey once noted, "Laughter is brought in to mock at things as they are so they may topple down and make room for the better things to come." Take Action: Look at one stressful event today from a humorous angle and force yourself to laugh at the event. You’ll feel so good you’ll want to repeat the action again and again. Sandy Baker is a professional speaker and President of Leave Em Laughing. Her audio tape, “Calling Dr. Calm”, is packed with useful information on how to handle stress with humor. For more information about Dr. Calm, please contact The Frog Pond Group at 800-704-FROG (3764) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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