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What Do Laughter, Games, & Play Have to Do with Brain Health? Everything!

30 Mar

I can’t think of a better way to start just about anything than with a bout of laughter.

Last week on Finding Your New Normal, before Mary and I brought out the puzzles and games, we kicked our session off with a breathing exercise wrapped in laughter. Here is how it went, for the most part. Give it a try!

Sit in a chair with your feet touching the ground. 

Take a deep breath in and feel the cool air rush in through your nose. Hold that breath for a beat or two at the top and feel a fountain of “good” spill down over your whole body.

As you exhale through your mouth, say HA and feel the warm air leave your mouth.

Take another deep breath in, this time intentionally breathing in joy. Feel the cool rush of joy enter your body. Again, hold that breath at the top and feel the fountain of joy wash over your entire body.

As you exhale through your mouth, say HA, HA, HA and feel the warm air leave your body but the joy remains.

Rinse and repeat holding the breath of joy at the top for three or four beats and intensify the rain of happiness and light that flows down your entire body.

This last time as you exhale through your mouth, say HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA and allow that laughter to continue until all the air leaves your lungs.

Now that is how to set up a conversation on how puzzles, games, and play promote healthy brains, balanced neurochemicals, and increase the quality of life.

Below is the link to the whole conversation but here are a few highlights:

  • Games, like Shut the Box that make you add, think strategically, and require motor skills (rolling dice), keep pathways open in multiple areas of the brain and feed you with an amazing bath of chemical and electrical activity.
  • Mary is the Queen of fidgets (little things to keep your hands busy). Fidgets are amazing focusing tools and can be used to diffuse stress, break the tension of sensory overload, and distract.
  • Games that involve words and games that involve figures / shapes help you stretch different areas of your brain.

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Exercise, Fitness, & Brain Health as a Path to Finding Your New Normal

21 Mar

Yes, moving your body and exercising is the most effective way to improve your brain health.

The fact is that even though we all know exercise is good for us, there still is so much to learn about the power of movement.

Last week Mary Lanzavecchia and I “Blabbed” on our weekly 30 minute Finding Your New Normal segment with the twins from, Kyberly and Alexandra, about how and why movement is so important to not just brain health but quality of life.

We talked about the role movement plays in both recovery from a brain incident and as we age. We talked about lifestyle and choices. We talked about genetics and habits. But most of all we talked about how living an active life allows us to do and be so much more.

The link to listen to the whole 30 minutes is below but here are just two of the concepts I learned from these amazing ladies.

  • By focusing on differing types of exercise you can actually reduce risk of falls. That is huge not just for older people but those of us prone to balance issues post brain injury. has wonderful exercises that you can do every day!
  • Habits are rooted in Actions, Beliefs, and Consequences (ABCs). In order to change a habit we need to change our beliefs about ourselves as they relate to that habit. In the conversaton, Alexandra gives some amazing tips on how to create new habits surrounding exercise and movement and why that is all so important.

It is incredibly cool to speak with people who actually practice and live, every single day, what they preach. We learned so much more from about the value of movement and specifically seven movement habits that we all can do today to improve our cognitive functioning.

And yes, there was laughter. Wouldn’t be a conversation with Mary and me without it! Check it out!

I also learned that I can go to and ask Kymberly and Alexandra a fitness question anytime I am stumped. What a great resource


I just downloaded my copy of 5 Fitness Myths that Weaken Your Abs (brand new!!!)  — it’s free!

How do you roll movement into your day!?



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