Stress is a part of our everyday lives – it can come from so many sources, some of them the daily frustrations of life including our jobs, others from unexpected challenges, such as major health issues.
The thing is, stress isn’t always bad – it can motivate us into action. And even in those situations that might initially seem like the negative kind of stress, you have the power to turn it into something positive. With this perspective, stress can have value in your life if you deal with it in the right way.
I have found that when you incorporate improvisation to your daily routine will help you take on the stress that comes with your job, family, and just the day-to-day responsibilities of life. Here are six examples:
- Communication – Communication skills go far in reducing stress. When people feel disrespected or discounted, stress intensifies. When they feel unheard, they shut down, or they respond with cynicism, distrust, or anger—and the situation becomes exponentially worse. Effective communication however, can validate and motivate. You can read about the importance of listening with both your eyes and ears – since listening is a critical part of successful communication.
- Awareness – Being aware of your environment can help you take control of your involvement in whatever situation you are in. When you assess your surroundings – those around you, the actual location, yourself – that awareness will help you be able to deal with a situation, which will develop confidence and help you overcome the stress.
- Adaptability – Adaptability is a HUGE part of improv – it IS improv. A lot of things in life can be stressful, but we have the ability to “go with the flow.” Adapting is simply the ability to readjust as you experience things – whether that be readjust your sales pitch, or the time in the morning you give a presentation or having to select a different menu item when your first choice is sold out. No matter the situation, it takes flexibility and confidence to address change head-on – and let’s face it, things are always changing, things rarely go as planned. Learning to adapt dramatically reduces stress. Read more about the game I give audiences to exercise adaptability, here.
- Calm in Chaos – “Don’t panic.” If you ever hear someone say that, it’s almost a trigger to go again and start panicking. You don’t have to though – it certainly won’t help you. When you’re staring chaos in the face, you must refuse to tell yourself that you can’t do it/overcome it/face it. The fact is, you can – and awareness, adaptability, communication, all the improvisational techniques, help you operate clearly without panicking. You’ll always know you can figure a way out.
- Attitude – There is a huge difference between “I will do the best I can” and “This is going to fail.” If you adopt a better attitude, one that doesn’t broadcast defeat, you might actually find that you are doing pretty well – this is the same with doing improv. No matter the source of your stress, your success to overcome depends on your ability to perceive things positively. You either can see your situation as a challenge and make the most of it, or you can succumb to it and let the stress win.
- Humor – A regular dose of laughter reduces stress – it’s proven! Laughter really is the best medicine. It loosens us up, it bolsters the immune system. On the other hand, being stressed can get us sick; as a result, we make others sick and productivity plummets. Laughter is the proven antidote, and it comes naturally when the company culture is conducive to it. A bit of levity can go a long way in the welfare of the individual and the business.
Learn more about how to leverage this improve principles to improve your career by visiting www.improvisnojoke.com. While you’re there, download a free chapter of my book, Improv is No Joke.