Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Medicine for Stress
By Victoria Munro
Running a business can be stressful
in any economy, but today’s media coverage of
gloomy economic news makes it even more challenging.
Focusing on negative reports increases stress that has
harmful effects on our health. Recent reports from several
health organizations agree that Americans are experiencing
a dramatic increase in stress. Laughter
is a healthy and effective antidote for stress. In tough
times, more than ever we need to lighten up and laugh.
Laughter, even smiling, has been proven to reduce stress.
Patty Wooten, an expert in the field of therapeutic
humor, writes, “Finding humor in a situation and
laughing freely with others can be a powerful antidote
to stress. Our sense of humor gives us the ability to
find delight, experience joy and release tension.”
Young children, who spend much of their time playing,
reportedly laugh about 400 times a day, compared with
15 times a day for adults. The
pressures of life often rob us of the ability to see
humor or fun in situations and ease our stress with
a good laugh.
A counselor I know understands well the value of play.
She keeps small wind-up toys on her desk and, when tempted
to feel stressed, a two- or three-minute 'play break'
with these toys replaces any tension with relaxation
Taking time out to play can be a challenge for busy
entrepreneurs, but play brings balance to our lives
and can be an excellent solution to stress. Barbara
Brannen holds the title “Top Banana”
at one of her companies Playmore,
which helps corporations use the power of play to reduce
employee turnover and absenteeism. Her
play workshops increase employee enthusiasm, creativity
and commitment, which in turn boost company profits.
A call center, which is typically an extremely stressful
work environment with high turnover, used her services
to resolve the problem. Not only did they achieve great
staff retention, but now 80 percent of new hires are
referred by existing employees. Fun
can change attitudes and the entire atmosphere in a
for Playing More by Barbara Brannen
1. Start your day with no stress by smiling as
soon as you rise in the morning. This simple trick
has you beginning stress-free as a baseline for
the rest of your day.
2. Continue this by making your commute fun.
Find new ways to approach what used to be a stressor.
An informal study by a major newspaper found that
80 percent of the negative interactions in the
first two hours of the day were directly related
to something that happened during the commute.
So listen to fun music, sing along, smile at other
commuters and don't let them drive you crazy!
3. Keep bubbles or bubble gum in your desk drawer
and the console of your car. When you feel stressed
or get stuck, blow bubbles for five minutes and
open up your mind.
4. Keep things in and around your work area that
make you laugh and smile. Look at them frequently
5. Schedule “play dates” for yourself
and with family and friends. Put these on your
calendar. Just knowing they are coming will reduce
your stress and keep you playful.
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
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