Improve Your SelfCare, Memory and Stress…Laugh!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 13th, 2014

Humor and laughter help combat memory loss in the elderly, a new study suggests.

Previous research has proven that the stress hormone cortisol can harm memory and learning ability in older adults. This new study examined whether humor can reduce the damage caused by cortisol.

Researchers showed a 20-minute humorous video to a group of healthy seniors and a group of seniors with diabetes and compared the results with a group of seniors who didn’t see the video.

The two groups that watched the funny video showed significant decreases in cortisol levels and greater improvements on memory tests, compared to the group that didn’t see the video. The diabetes group showed the largest decrease in cortisol levels, and the healthy group had the greatest improvement on memory tests.

laughing women“The less stress you have, the better your memory,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Lee Berk, concluded. “Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decreases memory [brain cells], lowers your blood pressure and increases blood flow and your mood state. The act of laughter — or simply enjoying some humor — increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a sense of pleasure and reward.

“These positive and beneficial neurochemical changes, in turn, make the immune system function better,” Berk added. “There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what’s called the ‘gamma wave band frequency’, which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life.”

Laughter is a great mental balance tool! To learn more ways to care for yourself while you care for others, nurse retention and nurse recruitment tools, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. I’d love to talk to you about bringing this powerful program to your healthcare staff. Please contact me directly to set up a complimentary consult.


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