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Have yourself a good laugh when you feel stressed, particularly as you grow older, suggests the Association of Mature American Citizens. It’s a well-known stress reducer and now investigators have found that it may minimize those senior moments.
A good chuckle appears to reduce levels of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone,” researchers at Loma Linda University in California have found.
They tested three groups of seniors and found that those in two groups who yucked it up while watching a funny video had significantly reduced levels of cortisol when the film ended. They also scored higher in post-trial memory assessments than those in the third group who didn’t watch the video and, apparently, were not amused.
Dr. Lee Burk, who co-authored the study, explained that “humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal neurons, 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.”