Life's too short to sweat the small stuff, says Loretta LaRoche, a motivational speaker and writer on stress management. Dr. Oz talks with Loretta, author of Relax—You May Only Have a Few Minutes Left, about how to use the power of humor and positive thinking to reduce stress and lead a healthier life.
When confronted with a stressful situation, such as a traffic jam, Loretta says people often have irrational, angry thoughts that just make a bad situation worse. She says one technique for coping with these negative thoughts is called paradoxical intention—you take your worse-case-scenario thoughts to the extreme until you realize just how absurd they are and begin to laugh. "Take what disturbs you and disturb yourself even further!" Loretta says.
People who can poke fun at themselves and laugh in the face of adversity are generally optimists, Loretta says. But this isn't to say they are oblivious to life's challenges. "An optimist is really a realist who sees the situation for what it is—and perhaps a little bit better—and tries to find the bless in the mess," she says.
Maintaining a positive attitude allows optimists to focus their energy on the solution rather than the problem, Loretta says, which helps them lead happier, healthier lives in the long run. "Optimism is a resiliency model—it allows you to bounce back," she says. "Flexibility is the ability not to get bent out of shape."