9 Regular Opportunities To Use Laughter and Play To Relieve the Stress of Being a Professional Photographer…or a Human
A commendable attribute of professionals, photographers or otherwise, is that they have the discipline to be “on their game” whatever the challenging assignment…or client. A professional is defined by his or her ability to give 100%, finish work on time and satisfy every client expectation, often exceeding them. That high level of dedication and discipline almost always leads to success. It can also lead to an accumulation of stress and worry that, if not relieved regularly, could result in reducing one’s ability to deliver professional-quality work everyday, and negatively affecting one’s health.
A regular exercise program and vacations are excellent methods to relieve professional stress and revitalize your attitude and outlook. An equally useful method that is often overlooked or even shunned by adults is adding more laughter and play to one’s life. Either can be effective with only the expenditure of a relatively small amount of time. For example, research has revealed that a 5-year-old laughs 300 times a day and an adult only 17 or less. A major reason is that adults think play is only for children. Throwing a ball with another person, skipping rope or flying through the air on a swing seems undignified, or brands you as a frivolous, less-than-serious adult.
You don’t have to participate in these activities as often as a 5-year-old, or even laugh as often as one, but you’ll be amazed how much a little laughter and play everyday will add enjoyment not just to your life, but also to your professional work and responsibilities. Try to incorporate these 9 laughter-and-play opportunities into your life, or any others that come to mind.
1. Tell someone a joke everyday for the next three weeks. It doesn’t matter how well you tell jokes, the simple act of causing others to laugh will lift your spirits as well. Plus, as you tell more jokes, you’ll improve your delivery and make people laugh even more. The Internet is filled with joke Web sites, so it’s easy to find a new one everyday.
2. Plan a monthly activity that is pure, unadulterated fun and will cause you to laugh, despite your worries and the sourpuss attitude you’ve developed. Visit the circus, a carnival or an entertainment park. Attend a comedy club or see a humorous play. Everyone experiences stress and worries. Having fun and laughing with a group puts your problems in perspective and helps everyone return to the daily grind of life with a newly found joy.
3. For at least one week every month, avoid watching dramas, soap operas and other TV programming that make you sad or create negative emotions. This applies specifically to watching too much news programming, filled only with reports of what is wrong with the world and the childish infighting among politicians. Stay informed, but don’t allow yourself to be burdened by what is happening in the world during those seven days.
4. The same method applies if you’re a newspaper reader. Read the funny pages first, so you’ve developed a lighthearted attitude before reading the serious news stories.
5. Do your best to avoid people that are sour, negative and cynical. It isn’t always easy, since you may have to interact with some of these peoples regularly. They should be the first ones you tell a joke or invite to join you at the carnival. Look for people who are funny, optimistic and enjoy life and try to spend more time with them.
6. A primary reason a person becomes a successful comedian or comedy writer for a sitcom is that they are keen observers of everyday life and can find humor there. David Letterman may never hire you, but occasionally think like a comedy writer and discover the little moments in your life that could be the basis for a joke, and then try to write it. Share it with others. Your effort may be temporarily embarrassing, but everyone will laugh, including you.
7. You’re an adult; you don’t need your parents’ permission to go to the park, playground or ball field to have fun. It’s a decision you can make for yourself; you simple must do it! If only for a short period of time, live like a kid again, participating in the activities that make you laugh or fill you with the elation of fun.
8. A very important method for professionals is to take a timeout. Does today’s schedule include a grueling, four-hour morning shoot and a long afternoon of editing photos? Between those two stressful responsibilities, escape the studio, your cameras and your clients and spend a half-hour at a nearby park or even catch a short nap. You may have to edit photos a bit further into the day, but you’ll feel better about the task and won’t mind a later dinner hour.
9. Turn the rest of the world to the off position. During a regular period everyday, or a few times a week, simply become “incommunicado.” Forget the emails in your in box, silence your cell phone and close the lid on your laptop. Walk away from the world and the constant attention it demands and enjoy a laugh-and-play period before you re-connect.
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