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Laugh a Little

Heard a good joke lately? If you haven't, you're missing out on a good laugh – and the wellness benefits humor appears to provide. According to a recent study, a good dose of humor beneficially impacts memory and stress, two variables that are particularly important as we age.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif., compared the learning abilities of older adults who spent 20 minutes watching humorous videos vs. older adults who sat quietly for 20 minutes. Results showed that seniors who watched the humorous videos had a higher improved learning ability (38.5 percent vs. 24 percent), more than twice the delayed recall improvement (43.6 percent vs. 20.3 percent) and "significant decreases in salivary cortisol" (dubbed "the stress hormone").

The takeaway: Laugh a little! Go to a comedy show, watch a sit-com on TV, or find other ways to inject humor into your life, especially when you're stressed, depressed and/or not in the mood. It's exactly what your brain needs to lift your spirits, improve your memory – and so much more.

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