Memory Spring Monthly

Are You Laughing Enough for Your Memory?

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 Are You Laughing Enough for Your Memory?

 
A recent study has revealed that those people who laugh more often get brain benefits.
 
The study completed at Loma Linda University in Southern California studied adults in 3 groups. The first group consisted of elderly individuals who had diabetes; the second group consisted of healthy elderly people; and the third group was another group of healthy elderly people. The first two groups were required to view a 20-minute humorous video, before completing a memory test that measured their visual recognition, learning ability and memory recall. The third group was also asked to complete the memory test, however, they didn’t get to watch the humorous video instead they sat calmly for 20 minutes. In addition to the memory test, all three groups were given a saliva test designed to analyze stress hormones.
 
What were the results?
  
The people who watched the humorous videos scored better on short term memory tests. In addition, their stress hormone levels, particularly the stress hormone Cortisol, were significantly reduced. Increased levels of Cortisol have been shown to interfere with people’s capacity to encode (store) memory as well as recall memory.  
 
What to do? Laugh more! In addition to making things more memorable and reducing stress hormones, physicians state that the act of laughter or simply enjoying some humor -- increases endorphins, sending dopamine to the brain to provide a sense of pleasure and reward. That, in turn, makes the immune system work better and changes brain wave activity towards what's called a "gamma frequency," amping up memory and recall. In addition, laughter provides a vigorous workout to tighten your stomach and strengthen your heart, and regular laughing may boost your immune system. 
 
Want to laugh more? Here are some tips for increasing laughter in your life: 
 
1.Smile more.  Just the process of smiling makes you feel good and gets you sparked up.  In addition, smiling opens your mind to funny thoughts and funny things.
 
2.Look for the funny side in everything you do. There’s always a funny side to almost everything in life.  We just have to be open to finding it. In most cases, the funny side is the most memorable side.
 
3. Give yourself permission to play.  Katherine Puckett, national director of Mind-Body Medicine at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America,  urges their members to give themselves "permission to play," which lightens the mood and cues the laughs. For example, sometimes their Laughter Club has fake snowball fights, in which they throw, duck from and get hit by fake snowballs.
 
4.Spend time with funny people. According to wellness expert, Frank Lipman, laughter is infectious. The opposite is also true, negative and downer attitudes are infectious.  Ask yourself, who are you spending your time with.  Lipman doesn’t recommend that you dump your unhappy negative friends.  He just recommends that you strike a balance and make an effort to split your time more evenly between friends who like to laugh and those who are chuckle-challenged.
 
5.Watch funny TV shows or movies. There are plenty of different humorous options out there.  Even if you’re more into drama, sometimes something funny and mindless can be the best medicine for releasing tensions and stresses of the day. 
 
6.Try Laughter Yoga.  Yes, you heard it right Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga is a combination of deep breathing exercises from yoga and laughter exercises, which oxygenates our body and brain. Laughter Yoga clubs are popping up everywhere.  Look for one near you. 
 
These are just a few of the many ideas to help you laugh more. The key is to take action. Remember, if you laugh a little more, you’ll improve your memory, reduce those stresses, get fitter, and be a little happier. What’s not to love about that? 
 
For more information on improving your memory and brain health, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 530-297-6464.