Stop, Drop, and Roll! To Save Your Sanity

Decrease Stress and Increase Enjoyment

Stress is tearing our bodies apart, crippling our ability for peak performance, affecting the quality of our relationships, zapping our energy, and making us just plain miserable. Statistics show that close to 90% of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems.
How can you escape stress? Most likely, you can’t. But, you can practice healthy ways to relieve and manage the stressors you will continue to encounter.

One of the best techniques I have benefited from to relieve and manage stress is a simple concept most of us learned in grade school, “Stop, Drop, and Roll.”

Reflect back to grade school, when one entire week each school year was devoted to learning about fire prevention. It was a time that we believed beyond the shadow of a doubt, the adults in our lives had all the answers.

So, when the Fire Marshall visited our classrooms, all eyes and ears were fixed on him as he taught us with a seriousness that forever engrained his words into our memories. “In the event that your clothes were to catch on fire, you should not panic nor run for help. Instead, you should ‘stop, drop and roll’ to smother the fire, minimize burns and save your life!”

How often do we come face to face with the fires of daily demands and pressures? It is our natural response to “fight fire with fire” or run for help, isn’t it? Perhaps we could benefit from following the instructions of the Fire Marshal.

Stop! Take a break. How many of us take regular work breaks throughout the day to rest and rejuvenate? Our natural biological clock tells us that we need breaks about every 1.5 to 2 hours. Often we are determined to finish something we start, and won’t stop until we do. However, if we take a short work break, we will find we can actually return to our project, and easily make up the time in higher performance, with less chance of error.

Drop! Drop everything for a few minutes. Experts tell us that we need 15 minutes of quiet time for every 24 hour period. Quiet time is defined as “no noise.” This includes the clutter of our minds. Even taking just a few minutes each day to sit quietly with our eyes closed, and breathe slowly and fully can bring us back down to earth and give us focus.

Roll! A sense of humor can help us “roll with the punches” of trying times. Take a humor break. Find something to laugh about every day. Start by creating a humor file of your favorite jokes or funny stories. Include some of the hilarious memories you share with family and friends. When you can’t see the humor in your present circumstances, borrow from your humor file. Laughter has the ability to help us release stress, improve mood, energize, enhance performance, and build relationships.

Henry Ford said, “Don’t find fault. Find a remedy.” We can spend countless hours identifying the causes of stress in our lives and trying to reduce our stressors. Or, we can heed the wise words of the Fire Marshall. Instead of springing into action and fanning the flames of challenge, we can save our sanity if we will “Stop, Drop, and Roll.”

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Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois, works with individuals and organizations who want to learn how to use the power of humor and the magic of laughter to handle the demands and pressures of work and home, adjust to constant change, deal with difficult people, cope with the unpredictable swift pace of life, product positive outcomes and have more fun.

Learning to laugh and “hangin’ on with humor” rescued Lois from the distress and despair surrounding her daily life, and initiated her recovery from a brain injury. Lois’ keynotes and trainings entertain, inspire and stimulate audiences to examine their own response to challenge and adversity. Hilarious personal stories, “Lessons from Lois” impart life-changing insights and equip participants with humor strategies and practical solutions to overcome the seriousness of their life challenges and feel happy.

Her universal message renews hope and motivates others to consistently do small things so they can achieve amazing results one day at a time.

©2012 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois – Permission to reprint or repost this article is granted by including the above byline and Lois’ contact information.