Tuesday, June 20, 2006

“Think globally, laugh locally”

That’s the motto of the World Laughter Tour, which trains certified laughter therapists. One of them, Diane Kane, was Kathleen Dunn’s guest on Wisconsin Public Radio this morning (streaming audio should be up at the link tomorrow). I don’t know who was more fascinating -- Kane, or all the callers who shared marvelous stories about the importance of laughter in their lives.

The photo refers to something Kane says about stress hormones: They suppress the immune system because they focus all the body’s energy on the fight-or-flight response. “That’s fine if you’re being chased by a bear,” she says.

Not so great if the stress is chronic. Then the effect of the stress hormones is debilitating. Laughter can help with that, even if it’s laughter about nothing at all. After all, there are only so many jokes to go around. That’s why Kane does laughter exercise workshops. “You don’t need something funny to laugh,” she says. “You just need an open mind.”

I opened my mind and laughed as I drove, all the way to work. It felt awkward at first, but I got into it, and by the time I walked into the office I felt great and had a goofy grin on my face.

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