WMU News

Alumni chapter program to focus on benefits of laughter

March 26, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Most taxpayers aren't chuckling when they drop their income tax returns in the mail box, but maybe they should, say two Western Michigan University alumni who study the role humor plays in managing stress.

Kay Caskey of Lawton and Laurie Young of Decatur will address that idea during a free public workshop at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the McKee Alumni Center at the corner of Oakland Drive and Austin Street in Kalamazoo.

The workshop, "Laughter Works...An Approach to Healthful Living," is being sponsored by the Greater Kalamazoo chapter of the WMU Alumni Association. The presenters operate a consulting business, Laughter Works, that emphasizes the use of humor as a coping device in stress management.

Both Caskey and Young are part-time instructors at WMU and 1988 graduates of the University's certificate program in holistic health. Young also received a master of arts degree from WMU in 1970.

"As an adult, we always tell kids to learn new things," Young said, noting that adults need to keep learning as well. "We also need to laugh," she added, "but when we grow older, we forget how to play."

The workshop will combine learning and laughing as Caskey and Young explore the psychological and emotional effects of laughter and give participates a chance to take part in activities designed to build cooperation and supportive environments.

In addition, the two will discuss some of the enduring myths about laughter and ways organizations are using humor to increase teamwork, morale and productivity. They also will share new research in the uses of humor for learning, physical wellness and interpersonal relationships.

The evening will be fun, Young promises, and participants will come away with concepts and skills that can be used at home or in the office. Seating is limited, so those planning to attend are asked to call (616) 387-8777 and reserve a place by April 13.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron; jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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