Best Kept Secret: Use Humor When Stressed

Stress relief can be fun, bonding and healthy for nurses and anyone under a lot of stress. 

One way to achieve this kind of stress relief is through humor. The Mayo Clinic states that laughter has many short-term benefits. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. So it is good to activate your sense of humor when stressed to the limit.

In stressful situations it can be difficult to activate your sense of humor. There are three skills as C.W. Metcalf, author of Lighten Up: Survival Skills Of People Under Pressure, writes you can use in order to find humor during moments of high stress.

The first humor skill: The ability to see the absurdity in difficult situations.

With this humor skill you can look outside of yourself and observe what's going on. It's when you can actually get a smile saying "I can't even make this stuff up." There can be humor in hell if you allow yourself to see it.

The second humor skill: The ability to take yourself lightly while taking your work seriously. 

This skill is developed when you realize you have control of your attitude. You will have the ability to redirect your thinking to the lighter side, to see the rainbow in the storm, or to the comic that you have posted on your office phone. This is when you give yourself and others the ability to breath even in tough situations.

The third humor skill:  A disciplined sense of joy in being alive. 

This is when you're able to go to your personal storage of humor. To be able to recall past stories that cause you to chuckle, to know when to communicate with friends that make you laugh, and develop a library of movies and books that give you a sense of humor and activate stress relief when needed.

While humor can be a quick fix to stress there are more tools you can equip yourself with to transform your response to stress. A proven method to managing stress is becoming more aware of your brain, including how it shapes what we think, believe, feel and act. The way our brain is programmed can unknowingly limit us and cause us to experience stressful reactions that interfere with us getting the results we truly desire in today’s world. 

Learn the skills to transform your response to stress by taking the Stress Shifter Skills Course. Stop feeling overwhelmed and stressed while at work. Take the first step in leading a happier and healthier life by transforming your response to stress. If you are a nurse you can take this course and receive 14 continuing education credits while doing so.

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