There’s no one coping mechanism that will work for every stressful occasions. People need a variety of skills to stay healthy. These could include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation just to name a few. But the benefits of humor and laughter are so plentiful, so convenient, and so cost-effective that people would be foolish to leave these awesome coping tools out of their coping toolbox.
Here are a few quick stress busters. Try one the next time your energy level drops and your attitude is sagging:
Call your own answering machine or voice mail to leave a humorous message that you can enjoy later. Bonus—you get to laugh twice: Once when you leave the message and again when you play it back. (For example: “Just calling to remind you to be careful when you go by the post office to pick up stamps and be sure to wear clean underwear because you never know when you might be in an accident!”)
Keep a file folder at your desk with clippings, cartoons, and e-mails you find entertaining. Pull it out and refer to it when you’re put on hold or when you feel those shoulders tightening.
Keep a book of word games, crossword puzzles, or cards at your desk. Re-spark your creativity and energy by taking a daily 10-minute ‘play break’ and you’ll recognize how important it is not to wait until you feel better to play. Play and then you’ll feel better.
Got a problem that’s bugging you? Practice playing with your pain by asking yourself “how could this be worse?” Exaggerate the situation until you can make it absurd enough to put things in their proper perspective.
Smiles and laughs can diminish muscle tension. They’re also contagious. Practice wearing a smile to share with others and notice how their responses make you feel better, too.
Gain maximum benefits by proactively seeking humor every day.