After a whirlwind ten days of laughter, LaughFest 2013 has come to a close. For the second year in a row, LaughFest put on an emotional health series, LaughteRx, focused around the emotional and health benefits of laughter. This year’s LaughteRx Emotional Health Speaker Series, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, featured three different speakers, with a Keynote Health Headliner, sponsored by Spectrum Health.
We first heard from Vanessa King, a Board Member of Action for Happiness, as she took us through the non-profit’s ’10 Keys to Happier Living,’ based on studies from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and economics. With easy to remember and relatable tips like exercising, appreciating, direction, giving, trying out, emotion, and more, King gives real life examples for incorporating these keys into our daily lives.
The next day, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Terri Tate, the next LaughteRx Emotional Health speaker, and hearing her personal story prior to her performance. Tate is funny, strong, and overwhelmingly inspiring in her recollection of survival and laughter. Tate, a nurse, overcame her 2% chance of survival against oral cancer not once, but twice. She even celebrated her 20 year anniversary of being cancer free the day before her LaughteRx performance.
The last LaughteRx Emotional Health speaker traveled a unique road to present day. A former IRS agent, Kelly Epperson now practices daily joy and happiness no matter what. She is, after all, the founder of the Happiness Club. Epperson provided tips like journaling daily gratitudes, remaining in the present constantly, and being ‘silly’ through every day tasks—like when she put a tarp over her kitchen table and poured the spaghetti dinner in the middle for her kids to have a little fun at mealtime.
As the LaughteRx Keynote Health Headliner, Spectrum Health sponsored Dr. Bernie Siegel with opener Scott Burton as the additional health and wellness feature. Siegel, a successful author, shared his journey as a physician in his experience with the mental and physical wellness of patients with illnesses that threatened their life. Burton, an award-winning comic, champion juggler, author, and cancer survivor opened the evening with his high energy and focus on laughter and joy throughout a cancer struggle.
What was your favorite part of this year’s LaughteRx?