Laughing Gas


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Laugh Your …Off

My mom was settling into her plane seat at Miami to New York when her British traveling companion asked,

How do you Yanks pronounce the state – Ha-wa-ii or Ha-Vy-EE?

She answered, - Ha-Vy-EE, of course!

The Brit said, Thank You.

Mom answered, - You are Vel-come!

If you laughed, giggled or smirked, you did your heart a service. When we laugh (the healthiest act) we stimulate the brain to pour out hormones and neuropeptides of endorphins of pleasure; it reduces your blood pressure and heartbeat, and you feel relaxed.

Who Says

Dr. Lee Berk, Loma Linda University in California did the original research and it has been continued by Dr. Peter Derks, College of William and Mary.

What happens by a Duchenne (authentic) smile or laughter is a powerful affect to our immune system, in particular our Natural Killer cells. Forget the lay experts on the wastefulness of watching Humorous Videos, if you smile or laugh you improve your health.


Merely anticipating going to see a comedy (movie) improves your mood and reduces stress for up to 48 hours. Listen to this – immediately before we laugh a wave of electricity sweeps through your entire cortex. Not just one neural network or brain structure, but across the left and right hemispheres.

The evidence is from fMRIs (function Magnetic Resonance Imagery) and EEGs (Electroencephalographs) during neuroscientific research. Remember, humans product 10 watts of electricity 24/7 to run our mind and body.

The next time you pass by your refrigerator, give it a little pat because we have a lot in common; we are both energized by electricity. A little kiss on its anniversary cannot hurt; notice how much quieter it begins to work.


When we hear a joke or see a funny video our left brain (hemisphere) analyzes the verbal contact to make sense of it. It is our Prefrontal cortex that decides if something is funny, after Broca and Wernicke Areas dopes it out.

Next, our right brain (hemisphere) gets into the act. It searches out the incongruity (weirdness) of the video, the elements that make it funny. Some of the qualities of our right brain are creativity and imagination, pattern recognition (familiar and unfamiliar), and emotions (amygdala in the Limbic System).

Each hemisphere communicates its specialization through one of three connectors (nerve fibers): the corpus callosum, hippocampal and anterior commissures. Whee, it takes a lot of brain work to get you to smile or laugh.

One time Mom came home from the eye specialist and announced he found Cadillacs (cataracts) in her vision. Her smartass kid suggested she have it taken care of by General Motors.

Rational Opinions

A 1980 scientific study proved something weird (counterintuitive). If you read an article and either nod or shake your head a few times in agreement or disagreement, it affects how you feel and your voting decision later.

The Effects of Overt Head Movement on Persuasion, by Gary Wells and Richard E. Petty, appeared in the journal, Basic and Applied Social Persuasion.

The participants who shook their head side to side while reading the article were persuaded to the negative side. They voted No (reduce the tuition) because their opinion was affected by the head motion.

Those who were told to nod up and down were influenced to vote Yes (to raise the tuition). The control group who did not move their heads was not affected by the article and voted for the tuition to remain at the status quo.

Here is my take on nodding or shaking your head while trying to persuade others to your point of view. A slight movement by way of a nod or shake is highly suggestive to the listener. Ever have a restaurant waiter say, How about a nice drink today? The research indicates 80% of patrons comply.

What is going on is Mirror Neurons of empathy and cooperation. You right brain is working to communicate with listeners right hemisphere. Our limbic system runs our emotions, which in turn suggests our decisional behaviors.

Slightly nodding or shaking your hand is a suggestion at a subliminal perception level to comply with your ideas. How you use it is your decision.

Are you familiar with Target Affirmations? When you repeat aloud or silently for two minutes daily for 21 consecutive days in a properly worded statement becomes internalized for action by your left and right brains.

In Speedlearning100 we use this affirmation to help students improve quickly.

Every day in every way, How Can I Speedlearn better and better?

Every day in every way, How Can I Speedlearn better and better?


Those who use this Target Affirmation progress faster than the control group who are too busy to bother with this silly two minute statement.

Why is it in the form of a question?

Your brain acts on questions up to 80% more often than statements of demand.

Would it help your career to read and remember three books, articles and reports in the time your peers (associates) can hardly finish one?

Consider this competitive advantage and decide if it can move your career into the Fast Lane.

See ya,

copyright © 2007
H. Bernard Wechsler -

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's’ partner of Evelyn Wood, graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four U. S. Presidents.

Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine for major articles.


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