FAIRMONT - How many times do you laugh in a day?
Adults, on average, laugh 15 times per day. The average for a child is 400 times, according to information presented Thursday night by Traci Lardy and Jeannie Green.
There were more than 15 laughs shared among the audience during the evening at the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.
The two women teamed up 10 years ago to create GLOW, an acronym for Granting yourself gentleness; Latching on to the affirmative; Offering and listening to praise; and Winning thoughts.
Lardy is director of Presentation College campus in Fairmont while Green is a physician recruiter for Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont. Their goal is a familiar tune: "Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative."
"Negativity can rob you of health and happiness," Lardy said, and she provided some alarming statistics to emphasize her point, including a study done by Duke University that found people who are highly negative are five times more likely to have heart disease.
When thinking about how negative our society can be today and where it stems from, Green recommended people ask themselves a couple tough questions:
"Are you making your workplace better or worse?" she asked. "It's never neutral."
"What if everyone at your workplace acted just like you?" she continued.
The presenters had some helpful suggestions to avoid becoming a CAVE person, another acronym, standing for Citizens Against Virtually Everything.
"Be an actor versus a reactor," said Green, reminding her listeners that they don't always know the circumstances around every situation.
The scenario she used to exemplify her point is the annoyance they would likely feel if a driver cut them off. But she then asked them, how they would feel if they found out that same driver was rushing her injured child to the emergency room?
"Oops?" she said.
Making affirmative statements is one way a person can start thinking and acting in a more positive manner, Lardy said, stressing the importance of restating a goal as a present-time fact.
Instead of saying, "I have a bad memory," try telling yourself, "I am an expert at remembering," she said.
Or rather than saying, "I hate change," try, "I accept change as it presents positive new opportunities for me."
While teaching about the power of compliments, Green instructed people to pair up and spend 20 seconds complimenting their partner. The only response allowed for each compliment was a simple "Thank you." The two then switched roles. For those 40 seconds, the room was filled with smiles and laughter.
"It's a proven fact that employees who are frequently complimented and praised are more productive," Green said.
A 3M-sponsored study on the subject found that it takes seven compliments to undo one negative comment, but people hear nine times as many negative comments as positive.
The group was challenged to use five compliments in their work environments.
"Watch it catch on and help those around you glow," Green said.
Negativity will always be present, but people can counter the effects with their own winning thoughts, Lardy said, and she encouraged her listeners to simply laugh more.
The power of laughter, she said, has been proven to reduce stress, improve personality, improve teamwork and trust, improve personal appearance, and even reduce snoring.
Along the same line of positive thinking, Police Chief Greg Brolsma was surprised at Thursday's banquet with the Chair of the Board Award for his role in bringing Top 20 Training to Fairmont. The program encourages "Top 20 thinking," versus "Bottom 80."