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Two-step formula for happier and more joyful life. Laughter really is the best medicine. Click on the story. This is the excerpt from the Body and Soul Monthly article that is promoting brain health to Australia written by Professor Selena Bartlett "It takes a brave person to start something new, and a braver person still to be the first to join in. But once they get things going, great things can ensue, especially if they involve dancing and laughing. Professor Selena Bartlett explains the formula for lifting the spirits of those around you – as well your own. Imagine sitting in a restaurant when, suddenly, the band starts playing your favourite song . A minute later, a woman gets up to dance. You feel the tension as people fold their arms, their inside voices whispering, please don’t ask me to dance. Others start tapping their feet underneath their chairs. Then one or two more people start dancing and it soon becomes a crowd. Once you move to the dance floor , everyone becomes one.
While the woman who started dancing was brave, the first person to join her was braver still. In a great three-minute TED Talk , writer and entrepreneur Derek Sivers calls that initial joiner the “first follower,” and “the first follower transforms the lone nut into a leader”. Together, their actions benefit everyone. The importance of connection is well documented by Dan Buettner in his book Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived the Longest . Thriving communities function like an orchestra because the people in them want to be part of creating a symphony. In the longest-running study of human development, the Grant Study, which has followed a generation of Harvard-educated men since 1938, researchers were shocked when results showed that the happiest men were those with the strongest relationships rather than ones with higher levels of social class, wealth, fame or IQ. Feeling connected through dance and laughter is great for a healthy life. It can improve your mood and physical fitness, make stress less intense and, most importantly, build social relationships. We can create our own micro “blue zones” by being the first follower. “But I can’t dance or move,” I hear you say. Instead, try laughing by reading jokes instead. After she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 21, Lea Guccione became the most downloaded podcast in the Thriving Minds series to date when she talked about finding healing through laughter. We were born to laugh because it strengthens bonds. Comedians and public speakers know this and use laughter to create safety and intimacy with audiences. By practising a little laughter each day, you can enhance your social skills and other connections that may not otherwise come to you as naturally. There are many ways to have a good laugh. To discover the world’s funniest joke, British psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman set up the LaughLab experiment in 2001. The team there examined 40,000 jokes, and had them rated by more than 350,000 people from 70 countries. The winning entry was submitted by Dr Gurpal Gosall: T wo hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says, “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There’s silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says, “OK, now what?” Gosall, a psychiatrist, told the joke to cheer up his patients, with good reason: Brain-imaging studies of people watching funny cartoons or listening to jokes show activation of its “joy” centres. Dancing and laughter work in similar ways and are quick and easy strategies to forget everything for a while and feeL better. As ABBA sang, “You can dance; you can jive; having the time of your life; ooh, see that girl; watch that scene; digging the dancing queen.” We all have the power to make a choice and take a chance, to be the first follower, and get up and dance, laugh or tell a joke. As Sivers says, when you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in – because there’s no movement or thriving community without the first follower"

Two-step formula for happier and more joyful life. Laughter really is the best medicine.
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