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[Baltimre Sun, August 2012]
[Howard County Times, August 2012]
April Fools Day – 2009
Humor When We Need It Most!
“I’m so broke, every time I open my checkbook, I hear “Snap, Crackle & Pop!”
“I’m so broke, I can’t even pay attention!”
“I’m so broke, I had to convert my cats liter box into a pay toilet!”
So humorizes Heather Wandell of Ellicott City, MD. Wandell is a Certified Laughter Leader, Speaker, and President of Another Way to See It and a member of AATH - the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. The mission of this international community of professionals, founded in 1987, is to study, practice and promote healthy humor and laughter.
Wandell, along with hundreds of humor enthusiasts and professionals from around the
world will convene in Las Vegas, April 2-5, 2009 for the 22nd Annual AATH Conference,
“Healthy Humor: Hitting the Wellness Jackpot!” Focusing on theory and application in the fields of health care, education and business, the conference will offer ‘continuing education,’ networking opportunities, and fun for professionals who use humor and laughter in their jobs to enhance work performance, support learning, and promote healing, whether physical, emotional, social, or spiritual.
The AATH conference purposely coincides with ‘April Fools Day’ and the global celebration of Humor Month. But, Wandell is quick to add a word of caution. “While ‘April Fools Day’ jokes and pranks may elicit laughter, they often tend to contradict the essence of ‘healthy’ humor.” According to AATH, cites Wandell, “Healthy, therapeutic humor enhances relationships, is non-hostile, sympathetic, benevolent, tolerant, and often philosophical. AATH is careful to distinguish it from hurtful, harmful humor that is more aggressive, critical, sarcastic, cruel, often based on put-downs, and involves laughing at someone else’s expense.”
“Shared laughter, humor and a smile comprise an international ‘language’ that connects all of mankind,” muses Wandell. For this year’s conference, AATH has already registered people from as far away as Australia, China, New Zealand, India, Japan, Israel, Korea, England, Denmark and all across North America. With its international membership, AATH spreads the message that humor and laughter do have a place in creating healthier, more effective environments in which to live, work and play!
For more information on AATH or on the conference, visit www.aath.org
or contact Heather Wandell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding grace in urban gardens [episcopallife online October 2008]
"Another Way to See It" Begins New Laughter Club [The Business Monthly, December 2005]
I am excited to say that the Laughter Club that many of you have "goosed" me into starting is finally starting in January 2006! We will meet at the Florence Bain Senior Center in Columbia, MD (5470 Ruth Keeton Way 21044) from 9:00 am -9:40 am every Monday. (click here for summer break dates). This club is open to anyone 18 years and up. There is a $2.00 weekly fee at the door. The following is a description of what the Another Way To See It Laughter Club is all about. I am really looking forward to laughing with you weekly! Please phone Howard County Recreation and Parks (410/313-7275) to register so we have an idea of how many to expect. Thank you!
“Another Way To See It” Laughter Club
Join us for a weekly 40 minutes of Laughter Exercises and group sharing. The purpose of a laughter club is for members to release joyful expression more easily and more often. It lifts enthusiasm, morale and motivation, encourages improved relationships, and brings about amazing changes in peoples health and personal lives. Improving our personal lives is the first step towards global peace. We add mindful daily practices to our week for the sake of a better world for our children and our grandchildren. This is a Mind-Body-Spirit Program.
Fee: $2.00 weekly at the door
Heather Wandell, Certified Laughter Leader
Love and Laughter,
Laughter----A New Management Strategy [The Business Monthly, March 2005]
Imagine leaving a staff meeting, laughing so hard your belly aches. Only you’re not laughing at someone’s absurd suggestion on conflict management---you, and the rest of the staff have spent the last five minutes of the meeting managing conflict. Is that really so funny? It is if the strategy used is laughter exercises. Many studies have proven laughter to be good for your health. Some of the benefits of laughter include reduced blood pressure, the production of endorphins (which counteract the production of stress hormones), decreased pain, and increased immune system efficiency.
Laughter clubs around the world are meeting daily or weekly to laugh together. The laughter is not induced by joke telling but by group laughter exercises. Sure, you could laugh on your own at home if you are disciplined enough, but you are not likely to laugh as hard or as long as you would with a group of people. If you are with people all day in the workplace, this is the ideal place to laugh. Companies who have made a conscious effort to add fun and laughter to their day, have alleviated job dissatisfaction, stress, absenteeism (people look forward to coming to work and are healthier), and have experienced increased productivity and profits. Laughter is an effective team-building tool and improves communication. Business Women's Network (BWN) member, Heather Wandell is a certified Laughter Leader with the World Laughter Tour. She brings her Laughter workshop into the workplace to teach co-workers how to lighten-up with laughter exercises and offers new possibilities for fun at work. Heather can be reached at 410/461-5309 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
By Heather Wandell
Have you ever noticed how great your body feels after a good belly laugh? Dr. Madan Kataria has. Kataria, founder and president of Laughter Club International, is a physician in Bombay, India, who is looking deeply into the healing effects of laughter. He has come to the realization that adults don't laugh nearly enough, primarily due to the tendency of sober adults wanting to create other sober adults, as in: "Be serious - you're an adult now." Children laugh an average of 400 times per day, adults only 15 times per day.
Kataria wanted to find a way for adults to add more laughter to their lives. The idea of starting a laughter club came to him when he was writing an article on laughter for a health magazine. In March 1995, Kataria got a group of people together in a public park in Mumbai (Bombay) just to laugh. They started meeting daily to tell a few jokes and laugh together before their morning walks. Group members found, however, that by the end of the week, the jokes were getting stale and some were inappropriate. Kataria knew he needed to find a way for people to laugh without jokes or even without a reason. He developed laughter exercises, a form of Hasya Yoga, and popularized it. Eventually, laughter clubs began to form all over India.
Around the same time, a gentleman in the United States was looking at the important role a positive attitude plays on our physical and emotional well-being. Steve Wilson, a psychologist and psychotherapist and founder of Ohio Professional Counseling Services, had written several books and articles on topics ranging from humor to healing, raising self-esteem and positive working environments. In 1998, Wilson, while traveling to India on a speaking engagement, attended one of Kataria's laughter club sessions. When the two men met, they felt an instant rapport based on a mutual sense of urgency to take the healing power of laughter worldwide.
Wilson returned to the United States so inspired to get laughter clubs started in this country that he and colleague Karyn Buxman quickly put together a 14-city lecture tour. The kickoff was in Columbus, Ohio. This was the beginning of The World Laughter Tour, an organization formed by Wilson, but with roots extending to ancient practices, biblical prescriptions and yogic methods, as well as to modern science.
The healing effects of laughter are numerous. It has been proven by psychoneuroimmunologists that negative emotions, such as anxiety, depression and anger, weaken the immune system of the body, thereby reducing its capacity to fight infections. Laughter helps to increase the count of natural killer lymphocytes in the bloodstream and also to raise antibody levels. People who participate in laughter clubs have noticed reduced frequency of colds, sore throats and chest infections. Laughter helps to control blood pressure by reducing the release of stress-related hormones and bringing relaxation. In experiments, it has been proven that there is a drop of 10-20 mm of blood pressure after participating for 10 minutes in a laughter session.
Norman Cousins, author of The Anatomy of An Illness As Perceived By the Patient (Bantam Books, 1979), tells the story of how laughter helped him recover almost completely from ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic autoimmune disease. A form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation of the spine, pelvis and many joints. Cousins' doctors predicted a gloomy future. Dissatisfied with the care he was receiving in the hospital, he checked himself into a hotel suite (which cost significantly less than a hospital room) and had a film projector set up. He spent much of his day laughing over Marx Brothers movies and old Candid Camera episodes. He found that after 15 minutes of laughter, he could sleep pain free for three hours. His pain subsided within eight days.
Businesses are also finding that adding laughter to their day helps to alleviate job dissatisfaction, stress and absenteeism. People who laugh together, work better together.
Howard County Recreation and Parks (410-313-7275) offers a Laughter workshop done in two one-hour sessions. The next one is on Jan. 21 and 28. Participants in the workshop learn the benefits of laughter on the body and participate in laughter exercises.
The World Laughter Tour's mission is to lead the world to health, happiness and peace through laughter. Trained laughter leaders help to make it happen. Joel Goodman, humor educator and author of Chicken Soup for the Laughing Soul, says, "Seven days without laughter makes one weak."
Heather is a certified laughter leader with The World Laughter Tour She can be reached at 410-461-5309 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .