Dr. John Schinnerer shares the secret of the power of mindset. Numerous studies are pointing to the importance of the proper mindset in a variety of areas such as diet, exercise, aging, vision, success, intelligence, pain, stress and anxiety. Check it out!
By Dr. John Schinnerer
Everyone knows ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ right? It’s an old saying yet recent studies have coaxed it up to the capstone of credible clichés.
Laughter is known to have all sorts of short term and long term benefits. It aids in relaxation, improves cardiovascular health, increases pain tolerance, releases powerful painkilling endorphins into the bloodstream, and of course, improves your mood. There is even evidence that laughter increases T-cell activity which benefit your immune system functioning.
A recent study from the University of Maryland looked at the physiological reactions of a group of participants to funny compared to intense movies. The group who viewed a comedy had an increase in blood flow in 95% of cases, thereby increasing cardiovascular health. On the other hand, the majority (74%) of those who watched a sad movie experienced decreased blood flow. In the “comedy” group, the cardiovascular benefits lasted up to 24 hours.
Given the scientific evidence that’s stacking up, it seems that laughter is good for us on many levels. So being easy to laugh is a trait to which to aspire.
With that said, here are some 7 of the funniest videos and websites to induce laughter whenever you need some quick relaxation or an emotional pick-me-up…
A great Youtube channel which includes Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.
It also includes a classic skit by Will Ferrell and his daughter called The Landlord which I find hilarious.
Of the many funny videos online, this skit by these two is one of my favorites. It’s of two brothers trying to record a video greeting for their mom for Mother’s Day. Anyone with a brother gets this piece at a deep level!
This site offers bits of writing from confused students.
Example: “There actually doesn’t seem to be a definitive thesis. There is however a statement that overviews what the entire chapter is going to talk about.”
Amusing exchanges between clients and freelance programmers and writers. Like this prime conversation…
After sending two invoices for payment, I sent another and called the client when the receipt that they had received it came back.
CLIENT: Why are you calling me?
ME: You haven’t paid and this is the third invoice I’ve sent.
CLIENT: It’s even more than the last one!
ME: Yes. The contract you signed stated that I would add a late fee for payment.
CLIENT: You mean I have to actually pay you? I thought you were joking!
ME: What on earth made you think that?
CLIENT: You’re a freelancer!
CLIENT: Well, you work for free! If you were supposed to be paid, you’d be called a paidlancer or something!
This site puts up mistaken, tongue-in-cheek and/or sarcastic texts from new-to-the-texting-world parents to their children.
There is some great material on Reddit in the Funny Jokes subreddit but be warned, the material is not typically PG-13! However, much of it is funny. For example, this (old) joke…
Three old ladies are at the park talking when the topic of how wonderfully devoted their children are comes up.
The first lady says: “I have a daughter like you wouldn’t imagine. Every winter she takes me to Florida for two weeks!”
The second lady, not to be outdone, says: “Pfft, you think you’ve got it good? My daughter takes me to Hawaii every summer for 2 months!”
The third lady looks at both of them and says “You two think you have good daughters. You don’t know what it means to have a good daughter. You know what my daughter does? Every Sunday, she goes to her psychologist and pays him $200 an hour, just to talk about me!”
A site that posts some of the funniest autocorrect errors ever.
To life, love and laughter,
Dr. John Schinnerer
Anger Management Specialist
Award-winning author of Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing Emotion & Thought
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
Positive psychology blog: http://DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com
Anger management blog:
Happiness blog: http://HowICanBeHappy.com
Positive psychologyWikipedia: Positive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life, rather than merely treating mental illness. →
And here is the third video in the series of Happiness Habits (I’m still editing the 2nd video!). It’s on a crucial skill, a skill that seems to be the most tightly connected with happiness and life satisfaction …self-compassion.
Anger Management Specialist
I recently embarked on a quest to create a series of videos on proven exercises which will increase your happiness and general well-being. Here is the first one on developing your best possible self…
All the best,
Positive Psychology Coach
Anger Management Specialist
How Can I Be Happy? Use Your Memories With Intention
According to Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, we encounter roughly 20,000 individual moments per day. Each ‘moment’ lasts 1-3 seconds. When you recall any evocative memory — positive or negative – it is almost always linked to a recollection of a specific moment in time. While the mind has a penchant for event tagging (i.e., marking events as positive, negative or neutral), rarely does a neutral encounter carry any emotional weight and is quickly forgotten. Your memories are nearly always positive or negative. What’s more, the mind has evolved to overfocus on the negative – negative self-definitions, emotions, words, thoughts, memories, etc. So tools to promote the positive are needed to counterbalance this negativity bias. In some instances, positive words or a sharing a cherished memory can forever improve one’s life.
When Were You Last Happy?
Here is a brief demonstration for you…
Think about the last time you felt happy; I mean really, truly happy, even if only for a moment. I want you to imagine that scene in your mind’s eye right now. Was your chin up? Shoulders pulled slightly back? Was there a smile on your face? Who was with you? What were the surroundings? What were you wearing? Are there any smells you recall? Think about the situation in as much detail as you can.
Now, how does your body feel?
Thinking back upon happy times cultivates positive physiological responses and positive emotions. Your heart rate slows, you breathing deepens, your chin elevates slightly, shoulders are drawn back, a warmth develops in your chest, and you smile.
How Can I Be Happy? Create a Mental Scrapbook for Your Self
One proven exercise from positive psychology is the mental scrapbook exercise. How can I be happier? Create a mental scrapbook in your head of times when you were happy, proud, excited, and/or confident – recollections that involve a variety of positive emotional experiences. That way, when you want to access a particular positive feeling to enhance the emotional quality of the present moment, you simply have to pull up that photo in your mental scrapbook to bring about the emotion you want.
Let me give you an example. Several years ago, I went in for an MRI scan on my hip for sciatica. When I booked the appointment, the receptionist asked if I was claustrophobic. Without thinking, I replied, “No.” Then I went in to get the MRI. I lay down on the table which began slowly sliding into the closed, narrow MRI tube. The tube was as wide as my shoulders. I could not move my arms except to fold my hands on my hips. The ceiling of the tube was two inches from my face. As I needed an MRI of my hip, I was slid all the way inside – head first.
To my surprise, my emotional mind went back to when I was 7 years old trapped in a mummy sleeping bag. And I began to panic. My heart began to race. My throat constricted. My chest tightened. While my emotional mind screamed at me to go Hulk and tear apart the machine which imprisoned me, my rational mind knew I had 20 minutes to spend in this tube. I I closed my eyes and reminded myself to breathe deeply. That helped a little. Then I forced myself to smile – a real Duchenne smile using the muscles around my eyes. That helped a little more. Next, I used the mental scrapbook exercise. I thought about the time I came face to face with an ancient sea turtle while snorkeling in Hawaii. I thought about playing with my boys on the beach. After calling those images to mind, I felt my body relax. I got through the 20 minute MRI without an incident.
How Can I Be Happy? Share Positive Memories with Others
A good friend of mine, Ebon Glenn, founder of the positive clothing line, AimHighESG, discovered a brilliant extension of the mental scrapbook exercise. Ebon discovered he could positively impact the moods of loved ones by sharing photos of family memories prior to a car ride, or a business meeting or a family dinner. The simple act of sharing memories of good times via photos served to lift his mood as well as the moods of others, thereby creating a positive emotional upward spiral.
The Big Impact of Small Words
The extension of this is to share small, powerful words with those around you. For example…
‘I’m proud of you.’
‘I believe in you.’
‘You are a genuinely good person.’
For years, I wondered whether such small phrases could positively impact people. I frequently have clients come in who are depressed, anxious, overwhelmed or angry. When we get to the topic of implementing positive changes in their lives, I make a point of to slow things down, look them square in the eye and I tell them, ‘Listen, I believe in you. I believe you can do this.’ After all, what comes first, you believing in yourself or someone else believing in you? Perhaps it doesn’t matter as long as someone believes.
Do your thoughts affect you? Absolutely. Do your memories impact the emotional quality of your life? Definitely. And you can learn to manage which thoughts and which memories take up the most space in your mind…with practice.
About the Author
John Schinnerer, Ph.D., an expert in positive psychology, is revolutionizing the way in which people make sense of the mind, behavior and emotion. In December of 2011, he was one of three emotion experts (along with Paul Ekman and Dacher Keltner) to consult with Pixar on a feature-length movie in which the main characters are emotions. Much of his time is spent in private practice teaching clients the latest ways to turn down the volume on negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and stress. He has developed a unique coaching methodology which combines the best aspects of entertainment, humor, positive psychology and emotional management techniques. His offices are in Danville, California. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley Summa Cum Laude with a Ph.D. in educational psychology. He has been an executive, speaker and coach for over 15 years. He hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a daily prime time radio show, in the SF Bay Area. He wrote the award-winning book, ‘Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought,’ which is available at Amazon.com. His blog, Shrunken Mind, was recently recognized as one of the top 3 in positive psychology on the web (drjohnblog.guidetoself.com). His new video blog teaches people the latest ways to manage anger using positive psychology. (WebAngerManagement.com). He is currently working on a destination site to teach individuals paths to sustainable happiness via positive psychology and ongoing practice at HowICanBeHappy.com.