LOL: Managing Stress While Waiting

It’s a tough time in the admissions cycle.  At least for prospective students. Most have submitted applications and are waiting for interviews, or have had interviews and are waiting for decisions. There’s an absence of information that ‘s unnerving. It’s just plain stressful. So is waiting for a job offer or waiting for a chance to be in the starting lineup of the New York Knicks.

So, what do you do?

Laugh.

Who's laughing last?

I got this idea from Martha Beck, a well-known life coach who also happens to be  sociologist with three degrees from Harvard (BA, MA, and PhD).  She wrote the following line and reading it today just hit me right.

The more stressful, dangerous, baffling, or unpleasant your situation, the more important it is to laugh at it.

She’s right.

Scientific proof that laughing works

We all know intuitively that laughter is the best medicine, and research backs up this aphorism. Scientists at the University of Maryland Cardiac Medical Center found that clips from humorous films like “There’s Something About Mary”  caused arteries to expand, increasing blood flow to the heart. The Brits have taken it one step further, declaring that laughing in a social setting increases endorphins, that is, mitigates pain.  Or, as the researchers stated in the proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences, “The results show that pain thresholds are significantly higher after laughter than in the control condition. We suggest that laughter, through an endorphin-mediated opiate effect, may play a crucial role in social bonding.”

So what does this tell you?  Stare that empty email box in the face and laugh right at it. Or put yourself on a steady diet of old reruns of Arrested DevelopmentMonty Python,The Simpsons, old John Belushi sketches, or funniest cat videos.

Some Reading Too

I actually recommend picking up a good book too. Books often take longer and grab more of your idle brain matter than a movie, or a Daily Show news report. I’m sure there are some scientific studies that measure brain relaxation waves while escaping through the pages of a book.  I hate to admit it, but I actually found the Hunger Games riveting.  You won’t learn any new vocabulary words, but you’ll keep turning the pages; it’s a guilty pleasure.

I’m also reading a whole bunch of books on the brain and happiness; I’ve always been interested in the brain and the mind, and after reading Delivering Happiness, by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, I stumbled upon Stumbling on Happiness, by Dan Gilbert. Essentially, he, like Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, find that we consistently get wrong what we think will make us happy.

So, if you are all wrapped up in your single-minded pursuit of getting exactly what you want *right now*, relax, laugh at it, laugh at yourself, and if you are still having trouble cracking a smile, laugh at me.  That’s what my whole family does, so why not you?

By Betsy Massar, Havard Business School graduate and founder of Master Admissions. Master Admissions acts as a campaign manager and champion, setting you up for success in applying to your top-choice business schools. Visit masteradmissions.com for a free consultation with Betsy Massar.

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