NEWINGTON - How about starting off each month with an evening of positive thinking?
The town’s Department of Human Services is inviting local residents to join them for Wellness Wednesdays. They will be held the first Wednesday evening of each month, all through the year, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Newington Town Hall.
Laughter, in all its glory, is the first topic to be covered.
Newington will welcome nationally renowned humorist Dr. Joyce Saltman for “Laughter: the RX for Survival,” on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Helen Nelson Room of Newington Town Hall.
Saltman is a professor emeritus of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University. Her achievements include the Association for the Applied and Therapeutic Humor’s 2015 Doug Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Academy for Continuing Education, and the 2015 first prize joke-telling award from the International Society for Humor Studies. She also has four graduate degrees in the fields of Special Education and Counseling.
All of these accolades aside, her students refer to Dr. Saltman simply as “Joyce.”
“I earned my doctorate so I didn’t have to use titles -- or be impressed with anybody else’s,” she explained.
Good humor is one of her proudest attributes.
“Joyce is just a down-to-earth, joyful person,” Carol LaBrecque, director of Newington Human Services, said. “We’re excited to have her and we hope this will provide some valuable information to people.”
The upcoming seminar will deal with the physiological benefits of laughter, studies on the mind-body connection, and practical suggestions on bringing more laughter into your life. Attendees can expect the presenter to mingle scientific data with comedy.
“Laughter is, indeed, the prescription for survival, as every study shows that longevity is enhanced by laughter, as is one’s immune system and many of our internal organs as well,” Saltman said. “More importantly, people who laugh more generally have more friends, and socialization is the number one key to aging joyfully. What more can one ask for?”
Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be armed with the knowledge to use humor to improve their own lives and the lives of others.
LaBrecque first met Saltman in 2015 when she gave a presentation on maintaining humor in the workplace, for the Connecticut Local Administrators of Social Services.
“Laughter is definitely a very valuable tool for us here,” LaBrecque said. “If we couldn’t laugh sometimes we wouldn’t be able to get through the tough days.”
The event is free and open to the public, not just Newington residents.
Wellness Wednesdays will continue Nov. 1 with “Food and Motion: the Mind-Body Connection” and Dec. 6 - “Financial Wellness: How to Achieve and Maintain.”
Additional topics will include mental health, stress, drug use and more.
“Between October and June we hope to cover the whole spectrum of wellness,” LaBrecque said.
RSVP is not required, but is appreciated, at 860-665-8590.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.