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1 min readThe Natural High

by Guy Gage | March 6, 2011 | Business

You’re hunkered down, working like a banshee. Your to-do list is huge; your desk in-box is overflowing; your email in-box is worse. Looming deadlines are driving you to work harder and longer. Not a pleasant place to be.

Over a prolonged period of stress, your body produces a significant amount of hormones that never have a chance to clear your system. As they build up, you feel increasingly on edge and less productive: can’t relax, always thinking about what you have to do, waking up in the middle of the night, and generally feeling tired and anxious. You may even get short with people over little things, much to your own surprise.

Allowing this to continue month after month, year after year, will rob you of any sense of career enjoyment, let alone your sanity. Life is definitely no fun if your work isn’t satisfying.

Not that it’s your fault. But you can do something about it. One easy way to get relief from stress is to laugh. The research is clear—when you laugh, your brain produces endorphins, which are the chemicals that make you feel good and prevents your adrenal gland from producing more cortisol (the bad stuff).

But here’s the kicker: when you’re stressed, nothing’s funny. You have to force yourself to appreciate humor. Humorous things happen all day long, but if you’re too stressed to notice, you miss an opportunity to produce and enjoy the natural high. It’s also better for you than digging through your chocolate stash.

So this week, look for things to laugh about. Force yourself to smile, and then get a belly laugh going. I recommend you draw a line at rolling on the ground, as you will likely be put in a white coat and hauled away. But short of that, enjoy the life around you.

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