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Work Hard at Playing Well

An effective psychologist helps the client deal more effectively with life style stressors. Our world, both on a personal level and in the work place, has become more fast-paced and stressful. Most adults are faced with job and relationship uncertainties, economic stress, family demands, and even homeland security issues. As a result, illness in the workplace is an issue. What people don't realize is that by balancing work and play, a key concept in career psychology, they can build up a resiliency to stress and physically and emotionally recover from traumatic events more quickly. By learning how to make time for play one can prevent the onset of an illness.

Often people who are extremely productive and don't waste a minute find they don't make time to relax and chill out. Human beings make themselves sick by working hard to earn money. Then they spend money trying to make themselves healthy again.

The following is a list of strategies for adding fun, play, laughter and/or leisure into your already full life.

  1. Make play/leisure a goal. Add it to your list of "Things to Do".
  2. Check your schedule for balance. Spread out the "need to's" to make room for some "want to's".
  3. Allow your inner child to be creative.
  4. Create a supportive environment. Add nutrition, exercise and nurturing relationships to your life.
  5. Become aware of the little things that make life worth living. Here are a few. Create your own list.
    • The smell of new-mown grass.
    • A hot shower when you're freezing.
    • Pizza delivered to your door.
    • The service department saying, "No problem. That's on warranty".
    • Dogs that sense when you're sad and come over to make you feel better.
    • Room Service.
    • Your suitcase being the first one to appear on the airport baggage carousel.

Recent research shows that a person's positive lifestyle, attitudes and emotions can help in the recovery from an illness but more importantly can prevent the onset of an illness. Try to increase the role that play and leisure have in maintaining health and wellness in your life. Play, as defined here, is the opposite of seriousness, not the opposite of work. It is finding nourishment and pleasure in the moment. Norman Cousins cured himself of a life-threatening illness through his self designed laughter therapy. Finding pleasure in life is an individual thing. It may vary from day to day. Devote the next three days to listening for and looking for the strokes which are aimed in your direction. Accept them with nothing more than a thank you. Some experiences you might notice are:

  • The admiring looks of your children.
  • A motorist who stops and lets you through the traffic.
  • A phone call from a friend.
  • Your newspaper left in a plastic bag on a rainy day.
  • A feeling of well being...

The January 24, 2005 issue of Fortune magazine reported that too many employees miss work each day because of workplace stress. Fortunately, many companies are investing in the emotional well being of its employees for the pay off is a healthier bottom line.

Janet Dix, Ph.D.

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