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Have you laughed today?

February 24, 2012

“Laughter is the best medicine.” We’ve all heard it. But do we really believe it?

A recent article featured in HealthDay, suggests that humor is linked to the well-being of kids. In the article, Dr. Allan Reiss comments, “Humor is a very important component of emotional health, maintaining relationships, developing cognitive brain functions and perhaps even medical health.” This is so true. Positive feelings reinforce a positive attitude, which promotes a healthy well-being.

In the study, researchers used MRI to scan the brains of 15 children between the ages of 6 and 12, while they watched video clips that were funny, positive, or neutral. What they found was that the funny videos activated two areas of the brain, one that processes rewards and the other that process incongruity, meaning two things that don’t normally go together. The positive videos only activated the reward-seeking area of the brain. The point of this study was to show that incongruity plays an important role in humor, where we might anticipate one outcome, but told another, which also aids in cognitive development in children.

So, in fact, laughter can be the best medicine. It is the medicine to emotional, social, and physical development. Lucky for kids, they will laugh at just about anything. Like… even something as simple as ripping up paper? You bet! And here’s the video to prove it.

What gets your kids laughing? We all use different tricks to get kids to laugh. What are the tricks up your sleeve?