No matter what field you are in, work can be tough. The situations that we deal with at work (and frankly, sometimes the people) can really test our patience.
What do we do when we are at our wits-end, and ‘you know who’ from ‘that department’ is really pushing our buttons? Laugh it off. It is important to remember that for every problem, there is a solution. There is no need to lose our cool on things that are out of our control. Of course we are not discrediting the severity of certain things that can happen at work; we are talking about the spilled coffee on the way to work and the ‘can I speak with your supervisor’ kind-of days.
Stress can cause a laundry list of serious symptoms that affect your physical and mental health. Some of these include muscle & stomach/chest pain, anxiety & depression, sleep problems, and drug or alcohol misuse (Mayo, 2019).
Developing a sense of humor can serve as a line of defense when these stressful situations present themselves. Humor will aid you in forming resilience to stress, as well as improving your overall physical & mental health. A study conducted in 2007 separated 109 subjects into two groups: a laughter therapy group and a controlled group. The laughter therapy group engaged in laughter therapy for 1-month. The group’s depression scale, mental state examination, health survey, and sleep quality increased over those in the controlled group (Youn, 2011).
There are many techniques that involve humor, where you can take a step back and disengage from those stressful (but shouldn’t be so stressful) situations:
Recruit a buddy
Everyone needs that one person you can laugh with over the water cooler.
Smile it off
Whether you have to force the smile or not, smiling has been proven to elevate your mood and the mood of those around you. (Stibich, 2019)
Find something externally
If you can’t seem to find any humor in the stressful situation, find the humor elsewhere! Catch a funny flick, or pick up a humor book.
All-in-all, stressful situations are inevitable. It is important for your physical and mental health to maintain a positive attitude at work, and understand that some things are just out of your control. Again, we are not discrediting or asking anyone to make light of a serious situation. But when you are at work, in a tizzy, and you have just lost your key card for the 32nd time, just shake it off and laugh it up.
“How Stress Affects Your Body and Behavior.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Apr. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
Ko, H. and Youn, C. (2011), Effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognition and sleep among the community‐dwelling elderly. Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 11: 267-274. doi:10.1111/j.1447-0594.2010.00680.x
Stibich, M. (2019, June 24). Top 10 Reasons to Smile Every Day. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/top-reasons-to-smile-every-day-2223755