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Giggle On Program Teaches How to Utilize Emotion

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Christa Scalies has a simple formula for a happier life: laugh often and be silly. “Sometimes, all you need is laughter,” says the Wilmington resident. “You have to find a way to have fun.” After a friend’s suicide and facing depression, Scalies knew she had to do something proactive to improve her life. Enter Giggle On, a program she developed in 2009 that teaches participants how to be mindful of their emotions by making eye contact, clapping, chortling and even using kazoos. “It reminds people to tap into their breath,” she says. “If you feel stupid, you’re doing it right.” It works for her, too. “I do this stuff for very serious reasons,” she contends. “You help others to help yourself.” Scalies, a certified hatha yoga instructor who also owns a debt-collection company, stresses that she’s not a therapist. “I’ve been to the depths of hell. I’m still alive,” she says about her own struggles. “It gives me credibility.” She sees laughter as a wellness tool that improves mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health. “If you have a hearty belly laugh, it’s a pain reliever for many problems,” says the easy-going 45-year-old. “It sends oxygen to your brain and all your systems. It’s energizing and relaxing.” In her workshops—which she holds for various groups, from health-care professionals to UD students—Scalies encourages her classes to let go of their inhibitions. “You get people to engage with one another and connect with others,” she says. “Fake it till you make it. It will transition into something real.” For more info, visit www.giggleon.com.

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