‘Laugh for the Health of It’ Saturday

by Town Reminder

‘Laugh for the Health of It’ Saturday

By Aimee M. Henderson
Staff Writer

GRANBY – A program at the Granby Free Public Library will try to prove that laughter is truly the best medicine when Trevor Smith, a certified laughter leader through the World Laughter Tour, Inc. and owner of “Laugh for No Reason,” presents a program called “Laughter for the Health of It” on Saturday, July 26 at 11 a.m. in the community room.
Jennifer Crosby, library director, said after hearing about the program from a Trustee member, the library contacted Smith about applying for a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant to support the program at the Granby Library.  
“We supported that endeavor and were lucky enough to receive the grant to have the program here at the library,” said Crosby.
The grant covered the $425 cost of the program, and all are welcome to attend. However, the program is geared more toward children and their families. 
In the cultural council application Smith says bringing the laughter program to the Granby Library only continues to contribute to the cultural vitality of the community.
“Laughter is social glue that helps people make strong connections with each other,” he writes. “Through the performance-based therapeutic laughter workshops and debrief session, a new sense of mental balance and perspective is created within the individual and within the group. The process also creates an improved level of physical and mental well-being that allows participants to more fully engage in all aspects of community-based activities.”
Smith, who has more than 15 years of experience as a Therapeutic Recreation specialist and Mental Health Practitioner, also has more than five years of experience leading therapeutic laughter workshops. He holds two master’s degrees, one in counseling psychology and the other in therapeutic recreation. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in education. 
Therapeutic laughter is a performance-based, structured health and wellness program that engages people in laughter without using comedy or jokes. Utilizing a series of interactive exercises in a supportive environment, the group explores the use of laughter for stress management, community building, promotion of positive thoughts and feelings, and strengthening the immune system.
Smith places an emphasis on creating a supportive non-judgmental environment and encourages creativity and enjoyment.  The workshop is composed of segments that highlight breathing, stretching, spontaneous vocalizing, child-like laughter, and use of props. The workshop ends in a debriefing that focuses on giving participants the tools to employ laughter and breathing techniques as self-care strategies.