Archive | Blab Chat RSS feed for this section

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.

Screenshot (17)






Menopause Lessons & Finding Your New Normal

14 Mar

I had a huge “Aha” moment a few weeks ago during one of my weekly Finding Your New Normal Blab chats with Mary Lanzavecchia. In all honesty, I learn something new about myself, Mary, our guests, or the world in general every single week but in this conversation with Ellen Dolgen, author, speaker, health advocate extraordinaire, and founder of the blog, Menopause Mondays at, we hit on a point that made me sit back and rethink how we as women, as parents and mentors, as writers and educators/health advocates talk about how life changes.

The link to the whole conversation is at the end of this post but here is the piece that absolutely got my attention. We were talking about brain fog and menopause and how hormones shifts can cause changes, big and small, in how we think, act, and interact. Our brains adjust to the new flow of chemicals in ways we don’t always expect and have no basis in our current well of personal knowledge to understand.

Then Ellen said something I never thought about before. She explained that we, as young women, are prepared for changes to our bodies and therefore our emotions and moods, when we reach puberty. Everyone talks about that change for tweens and teens these days – even the most prudish parents and the most closed-minded schools. Young women go into that phase of life with great information and support. Our mothers and our schools did not tell us about perimenopause or menopause so how are we supposed to know what is normal and what is not?

Those changes are confusing and can throw us off balance. I guess I just assumed we all needed to figure it out for ourselves – one of those rites of passage.

It never occurred to me that the lack of conversation about menopause and the recognition that perimenopause even exists is a huge deal, and an information gap that mothers could bridge for their daughters – let them know more changes are to come and that it is all pretty darned normal.

Ellen, along with her son Jack Dolgen, wrote and is sharing an amazing e-book, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause. This oh so important book walks us through perimenopause and menopause in an intelligent, science-based, and approachable way. The book talks about symptoms and life changes and personal stories and real life solutions. AND it is free. Really. Ellen is sharing this book with the entire sisterhood not just to read, absorb, and understand but to share with the next generation of women – those in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s – so they have good information and great resources.

Before I met Ellen and started religiously reading her work, talking about menopause was not even a remote “thing” for me. I now get it that it is important to talk and share information and beyond that, it is necessary to pass that knowledge, that wisdom, and those resources along so the next generation does not go through their 30’s and 40’s feeling like something is terribly wrong.

Ellen inspired me, one of the world’s biggest self-proclaimed prudes, to talk about menopause openly and honestly. Her book MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause, is packed with so much good information and is based on current research and trends. I encourage you to download it, read it, and pass that information along.

Ellen blogs at and puts out a newsletter, Menopause Mondays, one of the few that I read every week.  It is filled with the latest most reliable information in the field and I always find something of interest.

Click the photo below to check out our whole Blab.

Screenshot (7)





%d bloggers like this: