Why A Laugh a Day

Scientists and comedians alike, such as Patch Adams, have proved time and time again that laughter is the best medicine.  Just as exercise releases endorphins, or “feel good hormones,” so does laughter.

   But laughter does much more than that.  Laughter increases your heart rate and breathing, increases blood flow (through the expansion of blood vessels), and boosts your immune system (through increasing infection-fighting antibodies and levels of immune cells).  All of these positive influences on your health will reduce stress and help you get a better night of sleep.

   ABC News sites a study by leading researcher Lee Burk that tracked heart patients at Loma Linda University over one year’s time.  

   The 48 patients were divided up into two groups, one of which watched 30 minutes of comedy every day, in addition to their regular cardiac care program.  The other group didn’t see the movies…

   …”Heart attacks diminished drastically in the group that watched the comedies,” says Berk.  Other symptoms improved to the point that medications were reduced.  Only two of the patients who watched the movies had heart attacks during the experiment, compared to 10 who did not see the movies.”

   Also in the news, a Japanese scientist is:  “unlocking the secrets of the funny bone,” which he believes can cheer up people’s genes.  According to geneticist Kazup Markami:

   Genes are usually regarded as immutable, but in reality more than 90 percent of them are dormant or less active in producing protein, so some types of stimulation can wake them up…

   Murakami, director of Japan’s Foundation for Advancement of International Science, believes that laughter may be one such stimulant and is leading research to prove it.  Thus far, one of his studies proved that laughter lowered diabetics’ blood glucose level when subjected to stand-up comedians of Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. Ltd.

   …His latest experiment with the entertainment firm spotted at least 23 genes that can be activated.  Eighteen of them are designed to work for immune response, signal transduction and cell cycle, while functions of the remaining five are still unknown.

    OK doc., shouldn’t our prescriptions read as such: exercise, an apple, and laughter a day to keep the doctor away?  Certainly, for there are no side effects and the price tag of a video rental is trivial when compared to the rising cost of health care and health care coverage.

How Scientists Get Closer to Depression’s DNA

My Mental Health Day News writes that, according to a team of researchers, genes from a “specific region of chromosome 15″ may lead to depression!

“We should be able to hone more finely into the gene,” said Myrna Weissman, co-author of one of the papers and a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University and head of clinical and genetic epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute, both in New York City. “Then, we can see mutations and develop treatments,” she said.

How Scientists Get Closer to Depression’s DNA

Look for the full article in the February issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry written by lead scientists at Stanford University. Researchers write that about 10 to 15 percent of people suffer from depression at some point in life and between three & five percent have depression chronically. Scarily enough (because I am a woman), women are twice as likely as men to live with depression.

Although no single gene (scientists guess that there are several genes instead) has been decided upon as the responsible one, studies of families, and especially twins, have revealed that depression is partly genetic. While things may be genetic, one must take the environmental factors (including psychological trauma) may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Once the actual genes are found is very important and it may teach researchers exactly how genes are involved in depression, and maybe one day, what genes actually do.

My mental health day quotes news

My mental health day Discoveries

  Alcohol’s Effects Tough on the Brain – Explain to patients who ask that alcohol in moderation is thought to be protective against heart disease and stroke, but this study suggests that heavy drinking may accelerate the decline in brain volume normally seen with aging. The clinical significance of this finding is uncertain, but may suggest greater risk for cognitive decline in heavy imbibers.

Scientists Find the Gene That Decides How Long We Live – Scientists have come a step closer to understanding the secret of a long, healthy life with the discovery of a gene that plays a central role in the ageing process. The gene appears to be critical in extending the lifespan of animals that are subjected to a calorie-restricted diet – when they are slightly starved of high-calorie food but are given all the other nutrients they need.

Mental Health Checkups Important, says Margaret Trudeau“We ignore sometimes that we may not be functioning as we used to, that we may be going through a problem,” Trudeau, the ex-wife of the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, told CBC Newsworld. People will go to a dentist when they chip a tooth or to a doctor when they feel ill. Mental health is as important as physical health, but is often ignored, Trudeau said.

My mental health day quotes news

Persuasion: War of the WordsHow to argue effectively, convince others you are right and win every time. An interesting book review on Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs (Three Rivers Press).

How To Fight—and How Not To – Arguments aren’t inherently bad. Conflict is often how we sort out what we really want from what we’re willing to compromise on. In good arguments, the terms may not exactly be kind and gentle, the language not always respectful and there may not be closure, but the argument has a beginning and an end.

Hear Me Out – Not getting what you’d like out of your interpersonal dealings? How to make win-win relationships at work and home. If you aren’t getting what you’d like out of your interpersonal dealings, or your relationships are suffering from the strain of conflict, you might be using ineffective negotiating strategies. Better negotiation skills can make you happier at home, more successful at the office, and more personally effective in any group situation. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but anyone can learn to be a more effective negotiator.

Phantom PregnancyIn pseudocyesis, the mind tricks the body, and vice versa. Doctors think it develops when a woman obsesses over pregnancy out of desire or fear. (Queen “Bloody” Mary I of England famously suffered false pregnancy under pressure to continue the royal line.) A woman may stop menstruating, or her stomach may become distended due to stress or constipation. But her brain interprets the signs as pregnancy, which triggers the pituitary gland to secrete hormones like prolactin to prepare the body to carry a child. She gains more weight around the midsection, and her breasts swell and might even lactate. Many false pregnancies end when the woman goes into labor and delivers nothing.

Ten Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t!

I haven’t done a real mid-week me in a while and so I figured that it was time. I’ve tried to be good about keeping you all updated on how my mental health is, but these are just as fun to share with my readers!
So, while future-posting and watching Dancing With the Stars (learning to ballroom dance has made me want to watch this show … I never watched it before this season!) I’ll tell my readers about.

The idea here is to write about ten things you have done that you’re pretty sure are unique – that no one else has done – and then you share. Knowing my friends and my faithful readers, I’ll probably get at least one “Hey! I’ve done that, too!” comment! Please do speak up if you have! I’d love to hear that I’m not unique! If you want to do this for your own blog, leave me a comment and I’ll link it within this post, too!

Ten Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t!


Ten Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t!

1. I called my mom from Berlin, Germany to tell her that I was dying my hair blonde. Seriously, calling my mom, from a pay phone, in downtown Berlin to tell her I was going to do it was hilarious! What was she going to do? Ground me?

2. I’ve seen every episode of LOST (all three seasons) and every single episode of Grey’s Anatomy as well … at least once. I love the shows, what can I say!?

3. I have been both married and divorced before the age of 25. I married my high school sweetheart and we were better off friends than husband and wife, so three months before I turned 25, I celebrated a finalized divorce.

4. I have stopped mid-blog entry to clean my kitchen spotless. I did that tonight. I did that with this entry. I stopped before I even started listing things! I had to go into the kitchen, do all the dishes in the sink (and there were quite a few!), clean the counters off, and generally just pick it up. Something in me just made me stop and do it.

5. I learned to use power tools with a professional & world-class ballroom dancer. At the studio, when we were getting it all going, Jim had to teach someone to use the panel saw, the miter saw and the drill press. I learned. It was cool!

6. I earned a degree in German. It sits on an end table in my living room. While it’s pretty useless right now, it’s sure pretty to look at and makes me darned proud I could do it!

7. I had an umbillical hernia (probably from eating too much taco time & then working out strenuously) emergency surgery while I was a sophomore in high school. It’s how I met my high school sweetheart for the first time.

8. I’ve owned a coffee table from the 1910’s. I have my feet on it right now. It needs to be refinished and I’m thinking about doing that over winter break, but we’ll see.

9. I’ve written two novels. I’ve written them for National Novel Writing Month. I’m trying again this year. Anyone want to join me?
10. I’ve had my name legally changed three times now. From my birth last name to my dad’s last name. Then from my dad’s last/maiden name to my married name. I submitted the paperwork for my NEW name on Friday morning so that will be #3.

My mental health day quotes about anger management

So, the anger tests from last days told you that you were an angry person. (You threw something at your computer after that, didn’t you?) Well, what can you do about that?

Consciously choose to remain calm during anger-inducing situations. Instead of reacting immediately, stop & think. Think about your ultimate goals for the situation you’re in and react in an appropriate way. Literally choose to be calm. (You’re stuck in traffic and get angry about it. You want to scream and flip people off and get irate. Well … what is that going to do? Your goal is to get where you’re going, and getting angry isn’t going to help you advance to your goal.My mental health day quotes use this time to make some phone calls, even call someone to vent, sing along to your radio and consciously choose to keep cool.)

Talk about your anger. If a specific person has angered you, tell them. Take a few moments after realizing your anger (to consciously choose to remain calm) and then use your words to express your anger. Keep your words PG and use “I feel” statements rather than “you” statements. Don’t accuse, but express your own feelings. The more composed and put-together you are, the more mature you’ll come across, and the more likely you are to get a more positive reaction. Choose to keep yourself relaxed.
My mental health day quotes about anger management
If you need to, leave the anger-inducing situation. Leave until you can choose to keep yourself from reacting before thinking. Sometimes this is easier than others, but if you take things five minutes at time (which is how I make it through rough patches in my own life) you can handle any situation. Remember to relax as you’ve left the situation and think before you explode. Make conscious decisions! Choose to keep your internal self put together.

Take care of yourself. Do things you like to do; go for a long swim or a run, read a book, bake some bread, visit with friends, take your son to the park and watch him be amazed by grass! Then, when you’re in an anger-inducing situation, think back on these things that you so enjoy to do and let it soothe your increased blood pressure. Looking at these positive things is helpful for many Chose to remember the happy times during times of stress!

I realize that these may seem easier to read about than to implement,my mental health day quotes but by being aware that you are angry and that you can CHOOSE to be angry, you may start realizing that you can also choose NOT to be angry.