I was standing in the queue at Waitrose on Saturday enjoying the opportunity to stop for a while and observe people around me. It is really quite interesting to see how people react in these situations when they are obviously not moving as quickly as they would like to.
One man was very impatient and by the time he reached the front of the queue ended up being quite rude to the cashier, who was working as quickly as she could. Another lady was yelling at her children to be patient! All of these behaviours are telltale signs of stress.
Instead of allowing all the outside factors to influence me, I chose to take the time to rest, listen and observe. Whilst I did this I was able to see things in detail and allowed myself to smile knowing that I could remain calm.
We always have a choice in these situations, sometimes the choice may not be easy but it is there. I was probably going to be late for the next thing I had to do but if I chose to get impatient and cross with my children – would it have got me there any sooner? I don’t think so!
One of the ways I have learnt to deal with stress is by using humour. Humour works because laughter produces helpful chemicals in the brain (it also dramatically reduces the stress hormones Cortisol, Adrenaline and Dopamine). Humour gets your brain thinking and working in a different way - it distracts you from having a stressed mindset.
So, the next time you are in a supermarket queue noticing that your heart rate has increased and feeling frustrated – stop for a moment, take a deep breath and think of something funny that you have seen or heard and notice how differently you react!