My Gifts Shared

Laughter Workshop ZontaLaughter is a mechanism to relieve stress and bring joy into our lives. Without formal research, I think we can all agree that kids laugh more than adults. From my experience we tend to laugh more when we are with other people than when we are alone. Part of the problem may be that we are losing the ability to truly connect with one another. When I say connect, I mean being in the same room with another person, talking to them face to face, or looking into each other’s eyes. Studies being done currently have correlated that as the amount of contact we have between one another decreases, depression and suicide is growing in our society. The statistics are staggering. In 2010 it was reported that more people were dying of suicide than car accidents. What can we do?

I am a true believer that each change we make, no matter how small can change our lives and the lives of those around us. This is true whether we actually have a relationship with those people or they are strangers. Being a Certified Laughter Leader, (Expert Level Practitioner), a part of what I do to increase joy in the world, is teach people to create their own true mirthful laughter. As part of the work that I do with organizations to create a better workplace, I utilize laughter and humor as an integral part of creating a work environment where people can be more creative and productive. In addition to that endeavor, each month I teach a laughter workshop for free, to the public, somewhere in the Pittsburgh area. I have been blessed to find three permanent homes for this endeavor where the space and advertising is donated to the pursuit of laughter. How special is that? I have two libraries, Peters Township and Mt. Lebanon and one organization, Volunteers of America, who believe that it is important for human beings to learn more about laughter. I have learned from my training that people who are hungry cannot laugh, so in addition, I request donations for the local food bank.

At every gathering I have the privilege of introducing someone new to the concept of improving one’s life through laughter. It also gives these individuals an opportunity to meet other like-minded people and improve, or sometimes re-build the habit of truly connecting with one another. I will admit though, it is not all for them. Each time I have the chance to work with individuals on laughter, or any other concept that enriches lives; I get the gift of learning something new about human behavior. When I present these concepts in laughter workshops or corporate work, I listen. Then I get the opportunity to learn some new advantage to laughing out loud.

I just want to change the world…one person at a time. Will you join me?

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Julie Ann Sullivan works with organizations that want to create a workplace environment where people are productive, engaged and appreciated. Julie Ann’s newest book is titled, A little bit of GRATITUDE goes a long way. Julie Ann lives in Pittsburgh PA with her poodle Lucky. Learn more about Julie Ann by visiting


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