Laughter Lifts Spirits in Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Laughter Lifts Spirits in Vermont

Burlington, Vermont - March 18, 2003

If the morning commute leaves you as stone-faced as the statues on the outside of Burlington's Union Station, why not stop and take a breath? Each Tuesday during the rush-hour commute, a loyal group of "laugh-o-holics" head inside Union Station to make themselves laugh.

Carol Winfield leads the sessions, instructing her friends in many of the same traditional breathing practices used in yoga. Winfield admits the experience is a little strange, but explains, "Just by exciting yourself and getting your endorphins moving, you feel better! Being a fool is what it's all about. It does wonderful things for your heart."

Ron Manganiello joins Winfield weekly for the laugh sessions. He explains, "You just make yourself laugh. You fake it... and amazingly, the forced laughter has the same effect on the body and the mind as real laughter."

Laughter clubs started in India, where doctors prescribed the activity to help make their patients feel better. But with what's going on internationally, Winfield and her friends are taking on an issue that's no laughing matter.

Manganiello says, "Coming here doesn't make the upcoming war go away, but it does give me a refresher. I was feeling pretty glum this morning before I got here." Winfield adds, "[Some ask], 'How can you laugh when there's a war on?' But you need to laugh now more and more. Laughter doesn't hurt anybody. It only helps."

It helps the laughers because in a world with so much uncertainty, one thing is for sure: People will always smile. They say laughter's the best medicine, and it's certainly healing the blues in the Green Mountain State.

Jack Thurston - Channel 3 News

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