“Ha ha ha ha!” was the sound resonating out of North Building room 107.
The “Health Benefits of Laughter” seminar was held Tuesday afternoon for SC4 students and staff alike. The SC4 Wellness Committee sponsored the free event.
Heading the event was Michigan Education Special Services Assocation (MESSA) health promotion consultant Mona Tropf.
Tropf started her career as a nurse, and has continued her profession for 18 years. She has been traveling around to different schools around the area for 5 years teaching about stress management, the science of weight loss and obesity, as well as the health benefits of laughter.
One thing Tropf made clear: the seminar would not be a lecture. The event was formatted like a workshop, with lots of interaction between Tropf and the participants.
The workshop focused on gelotology, which is the study of laughter. The subject is said to be centuries old, but there is still new information being researched and discovered at places like Texas A&M University and the University of Maryland.
As discussed in the workshop, laughter has many benefits to human’s physical and psychological health. It has been proven to relieve stress by suppressing stress hormones such as cortisol. Laughter has also been proven to trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s “feel good” hormone.
Laughter also stimulates many parts of the brain, one of them being the frontal lobe. This can play into slowing or even stopping the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
It was also revealed that hospitals are starting to use Humor Therapy for cancer patients and burn victims, using the concept of “mind over matter.”
While the mind can benefit immensely from laughter, so can the body. It has been proven that a good “belly laugh” does the same for your body as a 10 minute aerobic workout.
Laughing can also make you feel better as a whole, bring you out of a better mood and even help you find balance in life.
“With so much oppressing news out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed,” Tropf said. “If you can laugh, it puts things in perspective.”
Tropf stressed that making humor apart of daily life is essential. The key to this, Tropf said, is to set yourself up to be in a positive place. When you are in a positive mood, humor comes easily.
Chuck Meeker, an SC4 psychology instructor, took a lot of good information away from the seminar.
“You have to make and take time to laugh. She stressed that you have to make it part of your life,” Meeker said.
The main thing about laughter, Tropf said, is who you are with while laughing.
“Laughter is about relationships rather than the actual joke. Think about it, when do you have your best laughs? When you are with other people, loved ones, friends,” she said.