Laughing In The Face Of Stress

We are faced with stresses every day. Work, children, spouses, parents, friends, neighbors, health – not even to mention the problems of the wider world. So how do we manage the stress of it all without becoming overwhelmed? Some advice from my,  not so Ancient Greek, mother on how to lighten up and put things in perspective.

 

Stress is the body’s response to any demand to adapt. There are two types of stress: positive and negative. Positive stress provides excitement, opportunity and motivation. Negative stress creates intense pressure, feeling out of control. Stress and pain go hand in hand. Total health, is complex – the mind and body are connected. But our response to stress is something we can control. How? By laughing in its face!

 

I remember fondly when I would call my mother and ask how she is doing, she will say, “Kleo ti mira mou”, which is Greek for, “I am crying at my fate”. Sometimes, though, when I would ask her that same question, she would surprise me and say in Greek, “ I am laughing at my fate, since crying at it doesn’t do any good” Since mother knows best, I decided to take her advice and do the same thing. Throughout the years, I’ve learned to deal with stress in my own life with a simple acronym: LAUGHING. I have  passed this on to my clients in my psycotherapy practice and in workshops, as well. Armed with this philosophy, you can laugh in the face of any stress, because you have the ability within you to handle stress.

Egea,health, to you.

 

Listen to your body and its’symptoms

Accept your symptoms and life situation

Understand your stress triggers and their purpose

Gain knowledge about how to manage triggers

Have a plan for potentially stressful situations

Integrate the plan when faced with stressors

No your limits

Giggle often at serious things

 

Listen to your body and its’ symptoms

If you are feeling or experiencing these things, your body may be trying to tell you to slow down or pay attention:

Clumsiness

Nervous energy

Insomnia

Nightmares

Lethargy

Feelings of resentment

Decreased libido

Difficulty swallowing or digesting

Irregular or irritable bowels/gas

Trouble concentrating

Headaches/migraines

Dizziness/faint/blackouts

Irregular menstrual

Unexplained chest pain or pressure

Stiff neck or other joints

Ulcers

Asthma/allergies

Feelings of hopelessness

Cravings for chemical substances/addictions

Heart attacks

Strokes

Cancer

Auto-immune diseases

 

Accept your symptoms and life situation

Acknowledge that your symptoms are trying to tell you something

Stop trying to fight life situations that come your way

Embrace situations as a part of life

 

Understand your stress triggers and their purpose

Know that triggers are different for everyone

Get to know what causes stress for you

Don’t be defeated by these triggers

 

Some common causes and triggers:

Work

Relational tension

Poor nutrition

Sleep patterns

Money pressures

Being alone

Not enough alone time

Self-image

Chemical substances/dependence

Time pressures

Traffic

Waiting in lines/impatience

 

Gain knowledge about how to manage stress in a healthy way and alleviate symptoms

Seek help regarding proper nutrition and stress management

Boost your immune system

Avoid sweets

Limit caffeine

Breathe deeply

Stretch

Learn how to sit properly

Drink plenty of water

Get organized

Set clear goals

 

Have a plan for potentially stressful situations

Prepare yourself

Learn to see it coming

Think positively

Be gratitude

Have options

 

Integrate the plan when faced with stressors

Designate a no-stress zone

Create a worry box

Team up, ask a buddy for help

Express yourself – allow yourself the freedom to tell others when you are frustrated in a respectful and calm way

Build slack into your schedule

Reduce costs

Exercise

Get into a routine

Keep a gratitude journal

Keep funny sayings easily accessible

Volunteer

Seek professional help

Hug

 

No your limits and limitations

Create balance in your life

Be selfish – in a good, protective way

Know when enough is enough

Don’t overextend yourself

Learn to say NO

At work:

Limit calls

Set aside a time when you return all your calls

Work smarter, not harder

Get a life outside of work

 

Giggle often at serious things

Use humor to diffuse stress

Laughter helps lower blood pressure, improve respiration and circulation

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