Have you ever noticed how getting an unexpected laugh in the middle of a stressful workday can help relax you and lift your mood? I’ve heard it said that humor is often created by a combination of tragedy and surprise.
This makes sense when I remember an incident during a very stressful day at a previous job. After seeing several clients and trying to catch up on a ridiculous amount of paperwork, I was feeling stressed and worried about all that still needed accomplished for the day. I rushed to the front desk to pick up some papers off the printer when I saw the director of the company lean over to the speaker of our fax machine, and yell, “I’m trying to fax something to you!”. I had just witnessed his first fax attempt and it was hilarious.
Stress? Gone! Worries? Gone! Nothing seemed to matter as it had five minutes earlier.
Finding a balanced amount of humor in the workplace and in our lives in general is beneficial to our health, productivity and work relationships. On the job, humor can strengthen relationships, enhance teamwork, and when used appropriately, it can diffuse conflict.
The benefits of laughter to our physical health include a boost to immunity, decrease in pain, lower stress and relax muscles. Laughter benefits our mental health by decreasing anxiety, fear and stress, increases energy and helps you to stay focused. Humor helps you to put things into perspective and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Some ways to find humor when you are overwhelmed by problems and stress:
- When you hear laughter and when time allows, move toward it.
- Laugh at yourself and share embarrassing moments
- Surround yourself with pictures, posters or other reminders to lighten up.
- Ask yourself if the situation is really worth being upset or upsetting others about.
- Spend time with children.