Laughter as Brain MedicineBy AmenClinics

Laughter is wonderful medicine for your brain and body.

  • When you watch a funny movie, the blood flow to your heart increases.
  • Laughter releases endorphins, which helps lower pain and counteract the effects of stress hormones.
  • Laughter also boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.

Laughter can also help you live longer!

One Norwegian study showed that:

  • Those with a sense of humor outlived those who didn’t find life funny (the survival edge was particularly large for people with cancer).
  • Adults who scored in the top quarter for humor appreciation were 35% more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter.
  • In a subgroup of folks who had a cancer diagnosis at the start, a great sense of humor cut their chances of death by about 70% compared with adults with a poor sense of humor.

Becky Johnson, a witty author and friend of mine, whose new humor memoir, We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook (co-authored with her daughter) may give your brain a happy boost through literary laughter therapy.

Becky is also a good friend of The Amen Clinic, and even wrote about her experience getting a brain scan!

In the book, Becky writes, “A few years ago, I had a brain scan done at the Amen Clinic. The good news is, contrary to urban myth, I do have a brain! In fact, according to Dr. Amen… I have “a beautiful brain.” On my brain scan, however, there is what appears to be a dent in my forehead. This is not an actual hole in my head, but an indication that blood flow is in not hurry to infuse my prefrontal cortex with thinking fluid. The result is that I’ve gone through my entire life with something called Inattentive ADD. It basically means that, though I am a bright and creative thinker, I am simultaneously ditzy and absentminded, at least when it comes to remembering things like time and appointments and where I put my glasses, or getting jokes, which mostly fly over my head at the speed of light.”

Becky once told me, “Having a sense of humor has helped me not to take myself too seriously. And being funny has helped my loved ones to see me as more endearing than irritating. Sometimes it feels like there is a classroom of Kindergarteners in my brain, all doing their own thing. Jumping on chairs, hollering out the window, coloring on the walls. This product helps bring the class-in-my head to order, and gives me the ability to focus on one project at a time and get it done.”

Laughter helps you learn.

One of the reasons I use humor in my presentations is to help people relax, because when we are relaxed and laughing, your ability to learn and absorb information increases. Try lowering your stress with some funny movies, or grab a copy of We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook and enjoy some chuckles.

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