Unaddressed high stress levels can have a variety of negative impacts for workers in the construction industry—on safety, productivity, mental health and the potential for substance abuse, based on data from Zurich. “During a typical workday, construction workers face a variety of risks to their safety and well-being—more than almost any other profession. Working with heavy machinery, heights, handling potentially hazardous materials and working in all kinds of weather are common stressors. Long and irregular working hours and disrupted sleep patterns also contribute to mental and physical exhaustion, exacerbating the personal stresses some workers carry with them to and from the jobsite.”
We have previously touched on the importance of stress management through meditation, exercise and visualization, but there is yet another methodology.
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Could laughter really be the best medicine?
According to the Mayo Clinic, though it can’t cure many ailments, increasing data shows that laughing is a proven form of stress relief and provides both short-term and long-term benefits.
A good chuckle can provide powerful short-term benefits.
When someone starts to laugh, it not only has a positive impact on the person’s mental state, but it can also create physical changes in the body as well. Because it enhances the intake of oxy-gen-rich air, laughter can stimulate the heart, lungs and muscles and increase the endorphins released by the brain.
A hearty laugh can activate and then relieve the stress response, as well as increase and decrease heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a peaceful and relaxed sense of being.
Another short-term benefit is that a case of the giggles can stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, which can also assist in the reduction of physical symptoms of stress.
There is also a good case for the long-term benefits of laughing.
The same Mayo Clinic study indicates that laughter can improve the immune system, and that “negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses.”
That can translate into pain relief, increased personal satisfaction and improved mood, not to mention an improved sense of humor!
So what have you got to lose? Give it a try; even making yourself smile can start to relieve tension and encourage relaxation. It just might be what the doctor ordered and create a better environment for workers.
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Valarie is Editor-at-Large of Colorado Builder and has a 25-year, award-winning career as a publisher, editor and writer for local, regional, national and international publications. Valarie is a Colorado native and enjoys hiking, traveling, meditating, kayaking, yoga, reading and spending time with her husband and family. She can be reached at [email protected] or (303) 502-2523.