|01-13-2006, 11:16 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Elway was just an arm =MacGruder
Pentagon to families: Go ahead, laugh
By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY Fri Jan 13, 6:45 AM ET
When the stress of the war in
Iraq becomes too severe, the
Pentagon has a suggestion for military families: Learn how to laugh.
With help from the Pentagon's chief laughter instructor, families of National Guard members are learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion and blurt "ha, ha, hee, hee and ho, ho."
"I laugh every chance I get," says the instructor, retired Army colonel James "Scotty" Scott. "That's why I'm blessed to be at the Pentagon, where we definitely need a lot of laughter in our lives."
Scott, 57, is certified as a laughter training specialist by the Ohio-based World Laughter Tour, a group that promotes mirth as medicine. It touts scientific research that suggests chuckling can boost the body's immune system and decrease stress hormones.
A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, says the Pentagon is committed to the program and values Scott's skills. "We sent him to the training," she says.
The laughter program was Scott's idea. It costs the military virtually nothing, because Scott already travels to states as a director of military family support policy.
He has taught National Guard family group leaders in Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Idaho, and will do so in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, he says. Another laughter trainer is working with folks in North Carolina.
"We believe our program prevents hardening of the attitudes," says Scott, in one of his wordplay aphorisms that beg for a rimshot. The founder and chief executive of the World Laughter Tour is psychologist Steve Wilson, who calls himself "Cheerman of the Bored."
"The guiding principle is to laugh for no reason. And that's one of the reasons it works so well for military families," Scott says. "There's a lot they have to be stressed over, a lot of worries, a lot of concerns."
As foolish as students might feel, Scott says he's lost only one participant: a Marine sergeant major who, Scott says, fled the room with a bad case of the giggles.
Mary Frances Booth, the wife of a retired soldier, took the class last year and is an ardent devotee.
She and her two daughters - Meaghan, 10 and Sarah, 8 - were sobbing after Booth dropped her husband at the Boise airport Sunday; he was headed for
Afghanistan for work as a civilian contractor, she says. Then Booth called for one of the laughing drills.
"They rolled their eyes at me and thought, 'Mom's on her laughing thing again,' " Booth says. "(But) it made it a little bit better."
|01-13-2006, 03:04 PM||#4|
Join Date: Apr 2001
Everything's funny with Soma! Take a soma holiday! Iiiiiiitttttttttttttt'ssssssssss GREAT!
|01-13-2006, 04:34 PM||#5|
Mo' holla fo' yo' dolla!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: In a bunker in an undisclosed location
"The wise are mourning - fools are joking."
- Joni Mitchell, "The Tea Leaf Prophecy"