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Distress Your Life Through Humor/Laughter

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1 Distress Your Life Through Humor/Laughter
Ed Seagle, CSU, Chico Mike Martin, LearningChange

Time magazine's June 6, 1983 cover story called stress "The Epidemic of the Eighties" and referred to it as our leading health problem; there can be little doubt that the situation has progressively worsened since then. Numerous surveys confirm that adult Americans perceive they are under much more stress than a decade or two ago. A 1996 Prevention magazine survey found that almost 75% feel they have "great stress" one day a week with one out of three indicating they feel this way more than twice a week. In the same 1983 survey only 55% said they felt under great stress on a weekly basis. It has been estimated that percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems.

3 STRESS STATISTICS A 1996 Prevention magazine survey found that almost 75% feel they have “great stress” one day a week with one out of three indicating they feel this way more than twice a week. The 2000 annual “Attitudes In The American Workplace VI” Gallup Poll found that: 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help; 14% of respondents had felt like striking a coworker in the past year, but didn’t; 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 10% are concerned about an individual at work they fear could become violent; 9% are aware of an assault or violent act in their workplace and 18% had experienced some sort of threat or verbal intimidation in the past year. 2000 Integra Survey similarly reported that: 65% of workers said that workplace stress had caused difficulties and more than 10% described these as having major effects; 10% said they work in an atmosphere where physical violence has occurred because of job stress and in this group, 42% report that yelling and other verbal abuse is common; 19% or almost one in five respondents had quit a previous position because of job stress and nearly on in four have been driven to tears because of workplace stress; 12% had called in sick because of job stress. According to a survey of 800,000 workers in over 300 companies, the number of employees calling in sick because of stress tripled from An estimated 1 million workers are absent everyday due to stress. Job stress is also very costly with a price tag for U.S. industry estimated at over $300 billion annually as a result of accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, medical, legal and insurance cost.

4 STRESS INFORMATION Imagine you are a caveman out innocently picking berries when suddenly you come nose to nose with a fire breathing sabor tooth tiger. While you were simply gathering, the tiger was actually hunting, and the sight of you makes his mouth water. The flight or fight response, also called the "acute stress response", was first described by Walter Cannon in the year of The theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system. The response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms. In layman's terms, an animal has two options when faced with danger. They can either face the threat ("fight"), or they can avoid the threat ("flight").

5 Present Day Flight or Fight
FLASH FORWARD to the present day. Despite the huge amount of technological change in the ensuing 25,000 years, you are walking around with essentially the same set of internal body parts as that of the caveman. At this very moment you're in the break room at work, hunting for coffee and gathering donuts. Your boss is out hunting too. But guess what? He's hunting for you. 
As you gulp down your third cup of Java you hear your boss say those dreaded words: "Could I see you for a moment in my office, please?" At the sight of the dragon, er, uh...your boss...your hypothalamus sends a message to your adrenal glands and within seconds your body summons all the same powers that your stone-age ancestor needed to fight a dragon. You can almost feel your blood pressure soar as you take the long walk down the hall to your boss's office. You remember a rumor you heard about an upcoming round of layoffs. Now your mind is racing, your heart is pumping, your blood pressure is soaring, your mouth dries up, your hands feel cold and clammy, your forehead is perspiring and you may even feel a sudden urge to go (to the bathroom). As you imagine your boss firing you, the caveman inside of you wants to come out. Maybe you'd like to run and hide or maybe you'd like to punch your boss in the nose, but you can't do either. Welcome to the modern era.

6 STRESS INFORMATION Stress is arousal of mind and body in response to demands made on them. A stressor is any demand on mind or body. A distressor is any demand resulting in harm to mind or body. Distress is too much or too little arousal, resulting in harm to mind or body. Positive stress is helpful arousal-arousal that promotes health, energy, satisfaction, and peak performance.

7 PROFESSIONAL STRESS Why do we as recreation professionals have a reason to get stressed? What causes it? What is the affect of it?

8 What Are Your Stress Points?
Where do you hold you stress? Head Jaw Shoulders Neck Lower back Chest ??????

Have you ever had one of those days? What could cause it?

10 EXTERNAL STRESSORS Noise Air pollution Adverse lighting Overcrowding
Adverse working conditions Negative personal interaction--family/social/work Major life changes, clustering of life events Availability of choices--over choice/lack of choices Overly severe rules for living, self-imposed or otherwise Physical, emotional, and social deprivation

11 INTERNAL STRESSORS Lack of physical well-being, i.e., nutritional inadequacy, chemical balance, disease, pain. Lack of exercise, sitting for long periods of time, sedentary lifestyle. Hectic life pace and rhythm. Conflict in personal psychology/personality, i.e., emotional state, feelings of guilt, unresolved emotions from the past, role conflict or ambiguity, perfectionism, low self-esteem. Lack of spiritual, creative and sexual fulfillment. Suppression of personal interests.

12 ADDITIONAL STRESSORS Informational overload
Life style changes Lack of confidence in institutions Job security Setting limits Mid-career phenomena Physical and mental exhaustion Underutilization of skills Physical work conditions Lack of control over one's destiny Lack of occupational feedback and communication Work overload or underload Contact overload Role conflict/ambiguity Individual factors Training deficiencies Society changes

13 COST OF DISTRESS Individual Family Workplace
Physical illness Low self-esteem Lowered energy Noninvolvement in public issues Decreased productivity Joylessness and meaninglessness Wasted potential Absence of fun and play Lack of career advancement Loss of interest in sex Decreased satisfaction with life, work, relationships Family Tension in the air Loss of potential earnings by an ailing family member A damper on freedom of expression Inattentiveness to emotional and physical needs of others Open conflict Family breakup Psychological put-downs High health-care costs Physical abuse Low self-esteem of others in the family Workplace Low productivity Absenteeism Worker dissatisfaction Worker turnover Conflict with co-workers High health-insurance costs Walt Schafer, “Stress Management for Welleness”

It allows us to be creative, work harder and be more comfortable. It decreases isolation. Laugher allows us to bond with other people and ease our loneliness. It’s contagious. Laughter creates laughter. It’s universal. Everybody can laugh. Human beings are born with the gift of laughter. It reduces aggression and conflict. It relieves anxiety. One cannot laugh and be afraid simultaneously. It’s physically impossible. Laughter also shrinks the source and size of your fears. Above all else, it’s fun. It gives us back our playfulness, a characteristic of all mankind. Laughter is a natural, physical process which releases pain, physically and emotionally.

What are the health benefits of humor and laughter? Reduce stress Lower blood pressure Elevate mood Boost immune system Improve brain functioning Protect the heart Connect you to others Foster instant relaxation Make you feel good

16 Laughter - Still the Best Medicine
Health benefits of humor & laughter Adults laugh approximately 15 times per day, while children laugh about 400 times a day. Dr. Stanley Tan, Endocrinologist at California’s Loma Linda University Medical Center states: “All these neuro-hormones act like an orchestra, each instrument makes a particular note. Laughter makes the entire orchestra more melodious or balanced. In other words, laughter brings to all the components of the immune system.”

17 HUMOR IN THE WORKPLACE Humor, the joy of jocularity, has benefits that are actually measurable. The University of Southern California has tested subjects both before and after a through laugh session and found that laughing lowers the blood pressure, releases natural pain killers (endorphins), and boosts the immune system. Not bad for having fun! Some of the correlations on the relaxing power of laughter: 100 laughs = 10 minutes of aerobic benefits from a rowing machine 15 minutes of laughter = relaxing effect of meditation for 8 hours 10 minutes of laughter = relaxing effect of 2 hours sleep We can see the future of medicine now….”Take two television comedy programs and call me in the morning.” Humor In The Workplace, Brian and Kelly Craft, Innovative Leader, Vol. 6, No. 5

1. Start with yourself. 2. Inspire fun in others. 3. Create an environment that encourages fun. 4. Celebrate the benefits of fun. 5. Eliminate boundaries and obstacles that inhibit fun. 6. Look for the humor in your situations. 7. Follow your intuition-Be spontaneous. 8. Don’t postpone your fun. 9. Make fun inclusive. 10. Smile and laugh a lot. 11. Become known as “Fun Loving.” 12. Put fun into action. Dave Hemsath & Leslie Yerkes, “301 Ways to Have Fun at Work”

2 different shoes or sox Air guitar Any eating contest Be a kid at heart Belly flop contest Bubble blowing Charades Comedy night Comics Cook funny receipts Dance funky Dog park Doodle Draw cartoons Face & finger painting Food fight Funny costumes Funny faces Funny movies Funny noses Funny stickers Funny/silly pictures (i.e. baby pictures) Gag gifts Goodwill-try on funny clothes Googly eyes Juggling Karaoke Lip synch Magic tricks Mascot Most embarrassing moment Nicknames Past pictures on different bodies People watching Pig Latin Pillow fight Pranks Put on puppet show Roast Silly hats Silly tales & stories Skits Slip-n-slide Smile Sound effects Surprise someone Theme days Throwing contest (i.e. rubber chicken) Water fight

What can I do immediately to increase my humor/laughter? Personally? Work? (be specific) ACTION What can I do long range to increase my humor/laughter? Personally? Work?

Funny pictures (family, friends, goofy ones, etc.) Collect cartoons (newspaper, magazines, cards, etc.) Noses (clown, Pinocchio, etc.) Funny items (Groucho glasses, hates, shirts, etc.) Noise makers Posters (3 Stooges, Laurel & Hardey, etc.) Audio & video tapes (comedy, storytellers, etc.) Collect and send funny cards & letters Dress funny days at work or running races Read funny books “Erma Bombeck”, “Peanuts”, Calvin & Hobbes”, etc. Collect humorous quotes Find humorous people to talk to and be with Try telling funny incidence Observe life and people for funny situations and examples (i.e shopping mall) “Lighten Up”

22 THOUGHTS TO PONDER! Live is uncertain…eat dessert first!
Don’t Postpone Joy! One of the best things people can have up their sleeves is a funny bone. Humorists always sit at the children’s table. The most wasted day of all is that on which we have not laughed. You grow up the day you have your first real laugh-at yourself. A playful attitude is best. Without laughter, the spiritual path would be boring. Laughter is free, legal, has no calories, no cholesterol, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, absolutely safe. Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Good humor is goodness and wisdom combined. An optimist laughs to forget; a pessimist forgets to laugh. Laughter is the natural sound of childhood. Humor is a fine teaching tool. People learn when they are enjoying themselves. Laughter is the jest medicine. Managing to have a sense of humor makes it a lot easier to manage people. It is more important to have fun than it is to be funny. S/He who laughs, lasts. In prehistoric times, mankind often had only two choices in crisis situations: fight or flee. In modern times, humor offers us a third alternative: fight, flee--or laugh. Steve Wilson, Eat Dessert First, Advocate Pub.

23 -CONTACT INFORMATION- Ed Seagle, EdD, Professor Department of Recreation California State University, Chico Chico, CA 530/ Specialty trainings and workshops related to stress, burnout, humor/laughter. Sessions can be 2, 4 or 6 hours and feature lecture, self evaluation and participation. Outcomes: Happy employees Healthier employees Better work production Less turnover Mike Martin Learning Change, Co-Founder 120 West Second Street, Suite 2 Chico, CA 95926 530/ Learning Change is a creative and professional services company headquartered in Chico, California. We provide design and business consulting services to commercial, nonprofit, government, and educational organizations.Our integrated design and leadership team specializes in services that focus on invigorating your business or organization. Low ropes, facilitator training, and innovative products to make you and/or your staff more successful in leading groups. Benefits: Increase motivation and commitment, foster teamwork and collaboration and learn how to connect with kids by simply asking questions.

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