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Laughter class teaches stress relief techniques

Christin Kloski | Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If you heard a lot of chuckles emanating from Stapleton Lounge on Tuesday night, don’t be alarmed. Certified laughter leader Mary Labuzienski provided an optimistic guide to college life as part of Saint Mary’s “Love Your Body Week.”

Labuzienski presented simple ways to be humorous in times of stress in the talk “Love my body? What’s not to love!” A clinical exercise physiologist, Labuzienski trains people of all ages to release stress in their daily lives.

To live healthy lives, Labuzienski said students need to laugh, smile, celebrate and play.

“Laugh and make others laugh,” she said. “You have to make it happen.”

Labuzienski said laughter is a critical component in performing everyday tasks well.

“Laughter is a positive emotion that helps us to move forward,” she said. “It allows us to act. We become paralyzed when we are too stressed.”

Labuzienski said stress weakens the physical and emotional aspects of the mind and body. She said positive emotions allow people to take stress away from the body.

“Laughter is the shortcut to stress resistance,” she said.

For college students, a stress-free lifestyle seems near impossible, Labuzienski said. However, she said social environments full of laughter and positivity can release the negative energy anxiety causes.

“On average, a person should laugh a total of 15 minutes, with each being three seconds long throughout a day,” she said.

By isolating themselves from others, college students are unable to obtain the daily positive levels needed to keep concentration or creativity. Labuzienski said students need to take the time everyday to engage in humorous interactions, devoting at least five minutes at a time to initiate a comedic conversation or a funny joke.

Positive psychology leads people to thrive, and as such, happiness should be a part of every person’s life, Labuzienski said.

“Laughter is a shortcut to happiness,” Labuzienski said. “It makes us more attractive people when we are happy and others like happy people.”

As such, the role laughter plays in everyday life can contribute to overall levels of happiness.

“Fifty percent of happiness is genetic, 10 percent is what happens in a person’s life and 40 percent is what daily events occur in a person’s life,” she said.