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Is Music the Key to Success?

By JOANNE LIPMAN Published: October 12, 2013CONDOLEEZZA RICE trained to be a concert pianist. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a professional clarinet and saxophone player. The hedge fund billionaire Bruce Kovner is a pianist who took classes at Juilliard.
Multiple studies link music study to academic achievement. But what is it about serious music training that seems to correlate with outsize success in other fields?
The connection isn’t a coincidence. I know because I asked. I put the question to top-flight professionals in industries from tech to finance to media, all of whom had serious (if often little-known) past lives as musicians. Almost all made a connection between their music training and their professional achievements.
The phenomenon extends beyond the math-music association. Strikingly, many high achievers told me music opened up the pathways to creative thinking. And their experiences suggest that music training sharpens other qualities: Collaboration. The ability to listen. A way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas.
read more
Joanne Lipman is a
co-author, with Melanie Kupchynsky, of the book “Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations.”

RX for Laughter
By Renown Health, July 24th, 2013 | Health Tips | 0 Comments
Vivian Graham, Physician Assistant
Feeling rundown? Try laughing more. Some researchers think laughter just might be the best medicine, helping you feel better and putting that spring back in your step. Humor is almost always present in most life situations but at times over shadowed by the moment.
Humor, however, is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use
Life brings challenges that can either get the best of you or become playthings for your imagination. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find new solutions. But when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning.
Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.
Here are some ways to start:
Smile.  Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious.
Count your blessings.  Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter.
When you hear laughter, move toward it.  Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events.  This one is my favorite!
Bring humor into conversations.  Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today?
Laughing defies difficult circumstances their thievery of your joy.   So when it is raining inside and out, look for the humor that may be hiding in your troubles.  Laughing, even later, will release your hear and restore your joy.
- See more at:

Dr Z S Meharwal, May 11, 2013, DHNS :

Laugh your way to health
Laughter is good for your overall health. It helps increase your endorphins, which provide natural pain relief, lowers blood pressure, it has positive benefits on mental functions, it helps the body fight infection, it relaxes muscles throughout the body. You can make yourself laugh by simply laughing. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humour and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

Laughter is a strong medicine for the mind and body. It is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

 Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.

Benefits of laughter

* Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.

Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
* Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

*Physical benefits: It boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles and prevents heart disease.
*Mental health benefits: It adds joy and zest to life, eases anxiety and fear, relieves stress, improves mood and enhances resilience   

*Social Benefits: It strengthens relationships, attracts others to us, enhances teamwork, helps defuse conflict and promotes group bonding Emotional health.
Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope.

Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in on the fun.
Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing. It helps you relax and recharge.

It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.

Humour shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

(The writer is a cardiac surgeon)


Fighting Ageism, Cheering Up 
and Pushing Back

Presented by Ashton Applewhite
Creator of the blogsYo Is This Ageist? and This Chair Rocks
 Older adults tend to be happier than younger adults, and the vast majority of them live independently-- so why do many of us still see old age as a time of decline and unhappiness?
Ashton Applewhite takes on these misconceptions in
This Chair Rocks, an engaging talk that will help us challenge ageism and see that old age can be a time of creativity, laughter and happiness. This perspective is important for all of us-- whether we work with older adults or simply plan on becoming old ourselves.
Join us for this special presentation that upends stereotypes-- and that just might change your view of aging.
Ashton Applewhite is the voice of Yo Is This Ageist and has been writing about aging and ageism since 2007 at This Chair Rocks. During this time, she's become a Knight Fellow, a New York Times Fellow, and a Columbia Journalism School Age Boom Fellow. She is the author of Cutting Loose: How Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well, media liaison to the board of the Council on Contemporary Families, and a staff writer at the American Museum of Natural History.
Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College
2180 Third Ave | New York, NY 10035
Brought to you by 
The Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York
The Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging

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This presentation is made possible due to generous support
from the

Altman Foundation.

Laughter has a positive impact on vascular function
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"The idea to study positive emotions, such as laughter came about after studies had shown that mental stress caused blood vessels to constrict", says Dr. Michael Miller, Professor of Medicine and lead investigator.  

Watching a funny movie or sitcom that produces laughter has a positive effect on vascular function and is opposite to that observed after watching a movie that causes mental stress according to research conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.  

"The idea to study positive emotions, such as laughter came about after studies had shown that mental stress caused blood vessels to constrict", says Dr. Michael Miller, Professor of Medicine and lead investigator.  READ MORE...
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention - Risk Assessment and Management


The Benefits of Smiling and Laughing
When you are smiling and laughing, you are sending a message to those around you that you are experiencing good feelings. Others are attracted to you because they want to experience the same feelings. While these short-term psychological benefits are important, laughing and smiling have long-term benefits, as well, for your physical and emotional health. Smiling
Smiling frequently is a precursor to laughter. You experience something amusing, and you acknowledge it by smiling. As your amusement grows, you begin to laugh. Smiling also can be a way to communicate your approval of a person or situation. Because smiling is a signal of approval, people have positive feelings about you and are drawn to you. Smiling also can improve your mood. According to Cliff Kuhn, a medical doctor known as the "laugh" doctor, smiling can help elevate the mood of patients with depression. Even "fake" smiling can improve their mood, states Kuhn. Smiling is intended to supplement any prescribed treatments for depression, not replace them.

Humor, music and spirituality may offer physical benefits
Humor, music and spirituality can boost your mood, but growing evidence suggests that they also offer physical benefits.
Article from The Washington Post

Humor for your health
Laughter appears to have such physiological effects as:
Increased blood flow. Watching 30 minutes of a comedy film ("There's Something About Mary") caused the arteries of volunteers to expand, according to a 2006 study from the University of Maryland Medical Center, while scenes from a stressful film ("Saving Private Ryan") caused them to constrict.
Strengthened immunity. Laughter might stimulate production of disease-fighting T cells and natural killer cells and might reduce levels of inflammation-triggering cytokines in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Watching funny movies might also help ease allergy symptoms and help people with asthma resist flare-ups.
Reduced muscle pain. Laughter causes muscles in the abdomen, face and shoulders to relax, which might ease muscle tension.
Lower blood sugar. People with Type 2 diabetes had smaller increases in blood glucose when they watched a comedy show after a meal than when they sat through a boring lecture.
Lost calories. Laughing boosted people's energy expenditure by 10 to 20 percent in a 2007 study.
What to do: If funny movies aren't your thing, or if life of late hasn't given you much to laugh about, consider "laughter yoga," a variation designed to induce joyful, prolonged laughter.

A spiritual life
Regularly attending religious services or practicing meditation appears to offer health benefits.
* Traditional religion. Regularly attending church was linked to a lower incidence of death from cardiovascular disease in a review of 69 studies. And a 2009 study found that men who attended church in their 40s had better physical health at 70 than men who hadn't attended church, possibly because they tended to drink and smoke less.
* Meditation. The evidence is especially strong for an easy-to-learn form of meditation called mindfulness, in which people focus on the present while practicing measured breathing. Meditation induces rapid physiological changes, including reduced blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. It might also reduce cardiovascular risk, ease depression and help people with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and Type 1 diabetes.
What to do: If you already participate in an organized religion, these findings provide more reason to continue. To try meditating, look for a class or teach yourself with the help of a book or recorded program. Try for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, the minimum amount linked with the benefits above.
(c) Copyright 2011.
Consumers Union of United States Inc.

s33011The Caring Generation
Talk Radio
Interview with Carolina Health and Humor's Executive Director, Rog Bates.


Nurse and Patient, Sharing Laughter

Hear Carolina Health and Humor’s Rog Bates discussing Laughter is the Best Medicine on the “The State of Things” with Frank Stasio.

Michael Douglas: Laughs Help in Cancer Battle

Douglas' upbeat approach also has scientific backing, with myriad studies indicating that humor and positivity can have profound psychological effects for cancer patients and their families. And that, experts think, might even boost odds of remission and long-term recovery.