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Humor Helps To Cope When Stress Threatens

Is humor in the workplace taboo? Many professionals believe that an office must be a grimly productive environment, where frantic, high speed effort is the norm. Somehow they've been taught to believe that if they're having fun at work, they're not working hard enough.

This is an unpleasant, counter-productive situation, according to Jeffrey B. McMullen, CEO of The McMullen Group Inc. and a nationally recognized humor/motivational consultant. It is the type of situation that cries out for the coping mechanism that humor provides. "Humor can lower your blood pressure, increase your energy level, boost productivity and give you an added ability to handle stressful situations," McMullen said. "Plus it can just make you a nicer person to be around in general."

In his 25 years as a "humor technician," McMullen has found that most business people have a misconception about humor in a work environment. Most confuse it with comedy. "Comedy has a very limited place in today's office environment... it's about getting laughs, "going for the yucks" he said. "Humor, though, is something that happens in your mind and deals directly with your perception of the issues and challenges you face. It affects how you will react, how you will let an outside issue affect you. It impacts your attitude towards yourself.

McMullen believes that one of the great benefits of humor as a stress reducer is that it works universally, crossing social and economic barriers as easily as a smile. It works in the front office as well as on the production floor.

He does not promote the idea of simply "laughing off" responsibilities, but he believes that you can let your senses of humor act as an "attitude filter" to remove destructive stress elements fromyour day-to-day work experiences.