When you experience stress, what goes through your mind? If you're like many people, you magnify the importance of the situation and fret about what can go wrong or what's at stake. And that merely adds to the stress.
- Here's a better response: Smile.
- Studies show that the act of smiling or, better yet, enjoying sustained laughter, can in itself alleviate stress. The most effective stress managers adopt a humorous attitude in the face of pressure. While there's no need to go overboard and act like a knee-slapping fool, try to recognize what's funny in a given situation.
- Train yourself to respond to stress with humor using these techniques:
- Imagine you're a comedian.Think of how your favorite comedian would handle your situation. What would he or she say in a monologue?
- Assemble LOL (Laugh Out Loud) items. In a calm, unhurried moment, write the 10 funniest jokes, anecdotes or drawings that come to mind. You may even want to create your own "best of" videotape with funny movie clips. To prevent the onset of stress or control it when it flares, reach for your "LOL kit" and cheer up.
- Poke fun at yourself. Lighten the mood by making a few gentle, self-deprecating comments to your coworkers. For example, if you're suddenly asked to drop everything and deal with a crisis, you can say, "Now I have an excuse for this messy desk with my half-eaten sandwich, folks. I have to go."