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Change the Brain; Relieve the Pain; Transform the Person


The brain gets really excited about a good joke. The mood elevation aspect of humor is in the Ventral Medial Prefrontal cortex reward center, which also assesses the “funniness” of a joke. Puns activate left orbital frontal cortex and insula speech, sound, pain and pleasure processing areas. Jokes that rely upon semantics are processed in bilateral middle temporal lobe and left inferior temporal lobe global coherence areas. A string walks into the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and says give me scotch and soda with a twist. The VMP says that’s not funny and we don’t serve strings. The VMP throws the string out of the brain. The string dusts itself off, ties itself in the middle and pulls apart its end. This time it strolls into the insula, and says give me a scotch and soda with a twist. The insula says “Hey, get out of here. You’re the string the PFC just threw out.” The string says

Laughter releases endorphins. It stimulates the immune system. Laughter stimulates oxygen exchange. It releases GABA. It enhances blood and lymphatic circulation. Laughter makes us happy because it balances stimulating and soothing. It truly is the best medicine.

Laugh. Poke fun at yourself. Buy a joke book. Go to a comedy club. Use a whoopee cushion. Buy a crawling eyeball. Give someone a gag gift. Tell your favorite joke. Make a funny face. Wear Groucho glasses and mustache. Do something silly. Tape your nose up and go to Porky’s Palace for lunch. Do the Hokey Pokey. Look for the humor in everything. A little bit of humor goes a long way.

© 2015 Michael Moskowitz, Marla Golden Contact