Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stress Relief through Laughter

Whether it's grant deadline stress (something we know a lot about here!) or the general stress of living, one of the things Grant Coach MaryEllen Bergh recommends is laughter.  Here's her advice on the topic:

Life can be stressful and, in the current economic climate, we are dealing with challenging and serious concerns - individually and professionally - each and every day. I am here to tell you that there is a remedy that is fun, free and easy to use and it will improve your health, relieve stress, and improve your relationships. What is this magic elixir? It is none other than laughter.

Laughter is contagious! The sound of someone enjoying a good belly laugh infects everyone, even eliciting a tiny smile from the dourest sourpuss within hearing distance. Laughter makes you feel good and that good feeling stays with you even after you quit laughing – for up to 45 minutes, actually. Humor and laughter has helped me keep a positive, optimistic outlook even through sadness and pain. Laughter makes me feel lighter and, during the busy grant season when things can get a bit overwhelming, humor helps me relax and recharge; it relieves my stress which, in turn, improves my focus so I actually accomplish more. I love the laughter break!!

Laughter is also good for your health. Scientific evidence has shown that humor and laughter help people breathe easier and it massages the heart and other vital organs. It may also increase the release of disease-fighting cells in the immune system. Like the effects of exercise, laughter quickens the pulse and stimulates the cardiovascular system. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins promoting an overall sense of well-being and, in some instances, temporary relief from pain. In addition, humor can alleviate negative emotions -it’s hard to feel angry, sad, or anxious when you’re laughing.

Start now to bring more laughter into your life. According to Laughter is the Best Medicine (helpguide.org), here are some things that you can do right now to incorporate humor and laughter into your life.

  1. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
  2. Count your blessings. Make a list of the good things in your life. Keep a gratitude journal that allows you to focus on the positive. Negative thoughts are barriers to humor and laughter.
  3. When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but more often it is not. People are happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out.
  4. Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily – both at themselves and life’s absurdities – and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are infectious.

Would you like more tips from the Grant Coach on staying sane and happy in the grant world?  Become a member of GrantGoddess.com!


Tracy said...

Just smiling will help to increase your over all good mood. Try it, just smile for awhile, it really is contagious and will lift your mood almost instantly.

Grant Goddess said...

You are absolutely right, Tracy. I can't smile for long without starting to feel it on the inside, too. I also try to focus on positive thoughts. Ruminating on the negative simply doesn't do ANY good, does it? Life is short - TOO short to waste a moment tied up in stress.

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Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.