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Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Managing Pain and Sleep Issues in MS



Click the arrow showing above to watch this presentation offered by The National Multiple Sclerosis Society


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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about CANNABIS provided BY The National MS Society

What is the Society’s position on the use of marijuana for medical purposes?

The Society supports the rights of people with MS to work with their MS health care providers to access marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved. In addition, the Society supports advancing research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of marijuana and its derivatives as a treatment for MS.
 

What is the basis for the Society’s position?

There is significant, unmet need for therapies that can address complex and painful symptoms often experienced by people with MS.  An increasing number of studies suggest that derivatives of marijuana such as oral cannabis extract, sprays and pills may lessen patient reported MS symptoms like spasticity, pain related to spasticity, and frequent urination.

Current research is unable to fully determine whether smoked marijuana is safe or helpful for treating MS symptoms. Additional research is needed and should be initiated to better determine the possible role smoked marijuana or marijuana derivatives could have in treating MS symptoms and helping people with MS to live their best lives.

Some people with MS have reported that smoking marijuana can help alleviate their MS symptoms. Research suggests that cannabinoids (marijuana derivatives) have potential for the management of MS symptoms such as pain and spasticity, and even protecting the nervous system, though further research is required to determine what that potential might be.  However, based on studies to date, the benefits of smoked marijuana as a treatment for symptoms associated with MS still remains unclear.

As with any therapy, along with potential benefits come potential side effects.  Cannabis-related therapies can cause various side effects including: difficulty with attention or concentration, dizziness, drowsiness, loss of balance, and problems with thinking and memory.  Each individual, in consultation with their health care provider, should make an informed risk-benefit decision regarding the use of marijuana and its derivatives.

While research continues, and since cannabis derivatives including oral cannabis extract, sprays and pills, are not yet approved in the U.S. for treating MS, the National MS Society supports the rights of people in the United States to work with their health care provider to access marijuana for medical purposes through designated state-monitored dispensaries in states where such use has been legalized.
 
The American Academy of Neurology has completed and published an extensive review of existing research looking at the effects of marijuana for medical use in MS symptom management (.pdf), as well as many other complementary and alternative therapies.  This guideline is an important step forward in assisting both the public and professional community in better understanding what is currently known about complementary and alternative therapies and what research is still required to better evaluate their impact in addressing MS symptoms.

What have been the findings to date of research funded in this area by the Society?

The Society is supporting a clinical trial of different forms of cannabis products to test their ability to relieve spasticity in people with MS.  Unfortunately, completion of this trial has been delayed due to challenges with recruiting patients able to adhere to the significant government requirements for trials using cannabis products.

The Society is committed to funding additional research with cannabis products and to addressing government regulations that may be impeding research progress.

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PAIN Relief: IS Medical Marijuana RIGHT for You?


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptom Treatment with Medical Marijuana
Multiple Sclerosis treatment with medical marijuana may reduce or alleviate Multiple Sclerosis symptoms including spasticity, pain, ataxia, depression, and anxiety, according to clinical trials and case studies on the use of medicinal marijuana by Multiple Sclerosis patients. Medical marijuana may even slow neurodegeneration associated with MS.

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment with Medical Marijuana
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks the patient's myelin, a substance that serves as a barrier around nerve fibers in the central nervous ystem. The damaged myelin turns into scar tissue, also known as sclerosisMS patients may experience mild, moderate, or severe multiple sclerosis symptoms, and may also experience both relapses and remissions throughout the course of the disease. Multiple Sclerosis patients may benefit from using medical marijuana both for the relief of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and in hopes of slowing the degeneration of the central nervous system.

Multiple Sclerosis symptoms that medicinal use of marijuana may help to alleviate include chronic pain, depression, fatigue, numbness, spasticity, ataxia, emotional changes, sexual dysfunction, and more In a survey of 112 medical marijuana patients with Multiple Sclerosis, over 80% reported improvement of spasticity, pain, tremor, depression, anxiety, and paresthesia. In addition, a 2007 meta-analysis of double-blind placebo-controlled trials studying the use of medical marijuana to treat neuropathic pain in Multiple Sclerosis patients found that cannabinoids are effective in treating pain associated with MS. In a survey whose results were presented at the 10 World Congress on Pain, most medical marijuana patients with Multiple Sclerosis reported relief from spasms and pain. A 2008 study by the London School of Medicine found that medical marijuana can even slow neurodegenerative disease progression in MS.

Is Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Right for You?
Multiple Sclerosis has four recognized courses of progression: Relapsing-Remitting MS, Primary-Progressive MS, Secondary-Progressive MS, and Progressive-Relapsing MS Patients with each course may experience mild, moderate, or severe symptoms, and may face various levels of degeneration and disability as the condition progresses. Some Multiple Sclerosis patients eventually must use a wheelchair for mobility, while others may function at a higher level throughout life. Since no two cases of Multiple Sclerosis progress in exactly the same way, it's important to schedule a visit to a medical marijuana doctor if you think medicinal marijuana should be part of your Multiple Sclerosis treatment plan. Most patients with MS experience one or more symptoms that may be relieved by using medical marijuana.

Once your doctor has written a recommendation for medical marijuana for your Multiple Sclerosis, be sure you're familiar with your state, city, and county's medical marijuana laws. Next, choose a medical marijuana caregiver and/or distributor in order to legally obtain your medicine. Make sure you're comfortable with and trust each person involved in your Multiple Sclerosis treatment. If at any time you feel unsure that you're working with people who have your best interests in mind, walk away and look elsewhere to obtain your medical marijuana. There are many medical marijuana providers in most areas where medical marijuana is legal, and you'll have a more positive experience if you're prepared to "shop around" for the right fit for you.


For this Material Source, and to read about other uses and treatments, CLICK HERE 

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New stem cells may help in battling multiple sclerosis

Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY


The great promise of stem cells may finally be getting close for multiple sclerosis patients.

Stem cells, which have the power to transform into other types of cells, have been much anticipated for more than a decade as a way to treat or even cure diseases like MS, Parkinson's, blindness and spinal cord injuries. But it's taken time to turn that promise into a workable reality.

Two new studies, both published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, suggest that researchers are getting close.

"We haven't landed on the moon yet, but we've tested the rockets," said Jeanne Loring, author of one of the studies and a professor and director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Her study found that a certain type of stem cell, injected once into the spinal cords of mice with an MS-like condition, could dramatically improve the animals for at least six months.

The mice's immune systems almost immediately rejected and destroyed the cells, known as human embryonic stem cell-derived neural precursor cells. But the cells seemed to trigger a long-lasting benefit, dampening inflammation to slow the disease's progression, and repairing the damaged sheathing around nerve cells that is the hallmark of MS, according to Thomas Lane, a neural immunologist at the University of Utah who helped lead the research.

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MS Medications and Oral Contraceptives: What You Need to Know

Provided by our Ask the MS Nurse: Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN


By: Ellen Whipple Guthrie, Pharm.D.
Oral contraceptives – birth control pills – are considered one of the safest and most effective means of preventing pregnancy. However, oral contraceptives are not for all women. If you are over the age of 35 and smoke cigarettes, the pill increases your risk for medical problems, including heart attacks, blood clots, and stroke. In fact, a study recently published in the Lancet found that women who smoke are 25% more likely to die from any cause if they also take oral contraceptives.

Because oral contraceptives are metabolized in the liver, they can interact with many medications, including some of the more common ones prescribed to women with MS. Let’s take a look at some of those medications, along with what you can do to protect yourself.

Different Drugs, Different Interactions
Various types of drug interactions can occur between oral contraceptives and prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal products.
  • Some medications can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives (see table 1). Clearly, women taking both oral contraceptives and any of these medications should talk with both their MS specialist and gynecologist. It is generally a good idea to use a second method of birth control as a backup. Barrier methods (including condoms, diaphragms, and new-generation intrauterine devices) are considered good options.
  • Oral contraceptives may decrease the effectiveness of some medications (see table 2). An increased dose of the medication may be needed in order to obtain maximum benefits.
  • Oral contraceptives can increase the effectiveness of some medications (see table 3). In many cases, a decreased dose of the medication is needed in order to avoid too much active drug.
What About the Disease-Modifying Drugs?
There is no evidence indicating that oral contraceptives interfere with any of the commercially available disease-modifying drugs – Avonex®, Betaseron®, Copaxone®, Novantrone®, Tysabri®, or Rebif®. However, it is recommended for women in their childbearing years to use some form of birth-control while taking these drugs, since they have not been extensively studied in pregnancy.

Table 1: Medications that can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives:
  • All antibiotics
  • Anti-seizure medications, including carbamazepine (Tegretol®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), phenobarbital, and primidone (Mysoline®)
  • Modafinil (Provigil®)
  • St. John’s Wort
Table 2: Oral contraceptives may decrease the effectiveness of these medications:
  • Salicylates (over-the-counter or prescription pain and fever reducers)
  • Benzodiazepines—such as lorazepam (Ativan®), oxazepam (Serax®), and temazepam (Restoril®)
Table 3: Oral contraceptives may increase the effectiveness of these medications:
  • Benzodiazepines—such as diazepam (Valium®)
  • Beta blockers—including propranolol (Inderal®)
  • Corticosteroids—including prednisone or methylprednisolone
  • Tricyclic antidepressants—including amitriptyline (Elavil®)
If you have any questions about the interactions between any of your medications, always talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist.
(Last reviewed 7/2009)





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Study Shows Cognitive Impairment May Be an Issue for Long-Term Users of Medical Marijuana

Many multiple sclerosis (MS) patients use marijuana to ease pain and other symptoms associated with the disorder, but the practice might make one common symptom worse.
MS patients in a small study who smoked or ingested marijuana regularly for many years were twice as likely as non-users to show significant evidence of cognitive impairment when subjected to a battery of tests that measure thinking skills.
The study was published in the journal Neurology.
By some estimates, as many as 60% of patients with multiple sclerosis have some problems with attention, learning, or memory, ranging from mild to severe.
Study researcher Anthony Feinstein MD, PhD, of the Sunnybrook Health Services Center and the University of Toronto, says patients who use marijuana risk exacerbating these symptoms.
“Whatever benefits patients feel they might be getting from smoking marijuana might come at the cost of further cognitive compromise,” Feinstein tells WebMD.




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Living in the Moment: The Benefits of Mindfullness

By: Kara Barton, MSW, LCSW
Breathing. If you are reading this now, you are breathing. We all do it, but we don’t usually pay much attention. It will happen even if we don’t think about it, but what if we do pay attention to our breath? Mindfulness is about paying attention – to our breath and to what is happening in the present moment.

As a social worker in a neurology clinic I teach mindfulness practice with some of my patients and have facilitated a weekly mindfulness meditation group. While anecdotal, the reports I hear from those who practice mindfulness include improved mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Using mindfulness, or present attention, allows people to manage racing thoughts, blame about the past, panic about the future, and to notice what is actually going on right now. In fact, mindfulness can increase the ability to recognize what is working or going well in your life.

Common complaints from people living with MS are related to the past and the future: Why me? How did I get this? What if I had (insert imagined panacea)?  What is going to happen to me? What if (insert imagined misery) happens to me? While there is a place for these questions during the process of coping with a chronic illness, such questions can understandably cause fear, anxiety, and depression. Inviting presence of mind into this context can be an invitation to feelings of calm, gratitude, and even joy.

Mindfulness does not diminish or inhibit the ability to process the past or plan for the future, which can be helpful in moving forward with life in the context of living with a chronic illness. However, mindfulness can help decrease complete absorption in these other “time zones” that prevent us from noticing what is going on in the moment. Usually we believe we are paying attention “in the moment,” but what we are actually doing is layering our interpretations of what is happening on top of the actual experience.

What the Research Shows
In a study on “Mindfulness Training for Multiple Sclerosis” reported in Journal Watch Psychiatry, 2010, Jonathon Silver notes that people living with MS and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and fatigue demonstrated improved quality of life after an eight-week intensive training in mindfulness-based therapy.

“MS is an unpredictable disease,” said study author Paul Grossman, Ph.D. “People can go for months feeling great and then have an attack that may reduce their ability to work or take care of their family. Mindfulness training can help those with MS better to cope with these changes. Increased mindfulness in daily life may also contribute to a more realistic sense of control, as well as a greater appreciation of positive experiences that continue to be part of life.”
Mindfulness can also increase awareness of movement and improve safety for people living with MS, according to a pilot study in the UK. “Mindfulness of movement as a coping strategy in multiple sclerosis: A pilot study” indicates that training in mindfulness can not only improve psychological function, but improve balance issues as well. People living with MS who have balance or gait issues can be challenged by the demands of our culture to multi-task; if attention is divided it can often lead to injury.

Living with MS impacts the family system, so it is not only the person diagnosed who is impacted. However, the diagnosis becomes a new feature of an already existing relationship. It is up to each individual and family to assess the quality of their functioning and access existing resources to continue to improve their well-being as a whole. Researchers at the University of Queensland, Brisbane School of Psychology investigated the impact of mindfulness and acceptance on couples coping with MS and noted increased ability to adjust and a decrease in anxiety and depression, therefore improving the quality of the relationship.

Is mindfulness for me?
This is a question many people ask themselves, believing that if they have an active mind they will be unable to practice mindfulness meditation. Yet, mindfulness is not the absence of thought; it is the practice of not engaging the thoughts as we are used to in our daily life.
It can help to come to this new practice with a beginner’s mind, not needing to “get it right” or be perfect. Gentle kindness towards your own process allows the mindfulness practitioner to notice what is happening in the mind and body without judgment.

Resources
Book/CD’s:
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron (Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1997)
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by John Kabat-Zinn (Hyperion, 1994)

Full Catastrophe Living by John Kabat-Zinn (Delta, 1991)
Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield (Sounds True, Inc., 2008)

DVD’s:
Fierce Grace documentary about Ram Dass
Free Meditation Podcasts: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
Insight Meditation Society: http://www.dharma.org/ 

Kara Barton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the USC Department of Neurology in Los Angeles, CA. She is part of the Center for Psychological Excellence (COPE) within the neurology department. She provides counseling and resources to patients and families living with MS and other neurological conditions. She and her colleagues believe in cultivating hope and joy during difficult times. Teaching mindfulness has become an integral part of her clinical practice.
(Last reviewed 11/2012)

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Biological Power Tools to Change Pain





Stu's Views -- I see to find and work with whatever I can, to avoid pain while also avoiding taking pain medications.  For those that live with Pain, I hope you can find alternative means as well.
   p.s. - I have nothing to gain, from providing the information shown in this video, other than                             hopefully knowing that you might feel better......


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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cannabis helped Marie Fleming ‘in lots of ways that prescribed drugs weren’t able to’


Cannabis helped Marie Fleming in ways that prescribed pain medication could not, her long-term partner revealed this morning.
Tom Curran told TV3′s Ireland AM that the illegal drug had a “very positive effect” on Marie as she battled with Multiple Sclerosis.
“Rather than buying it on the street, I bought seeds on the internet and I grew it for Marie and the results were incredible,” he explained.
“The pain relief, the spasms and also to be perfectly honest, the lifting of her mood so it helped her in lots of ways that the pain control drugs just weren’t able to do.”
He said that Marie smoked the cannabis, rather than bake it.
“You could see within two minutes of her taking it, her limbs stopped shaking, the pain relief, you could see the anxiousness in her was gone because the pain was dissipating. It was remarkable. It became part of our routine, if that’s the way to put it, yeah.”
Curran revealed the details during an interview with Sinéad Desmond and Anton Savage as part of a campaign for a new drug Frampya to be made freely available to those with MS.
The drug can cost up to €500 per month and is not part of the General Medical Scheme so sufferers would have to meet the cost themselves.


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Research and Markets: Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Highlights - 2014

June 12, 2014
The latest research, 'Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Highlights - 2014', provides Germany multiple sclerosis market analysis, competitive landscape, and multiple sclerosis drug sales forecast in Germany.
The research includes Germany multiple sclerosis market size estimates for 2013, market share forecast for six years to 2019, multiple sclerosis drugs market share, multiple sclerosis drugs sales estimates, multiple sclerosis drugs sales forecast, and multiple sclerosis late stage pipeline products.
This research helps executives track competitor drugs sales and market share in Germany multiple sclerosis market. It supports decision making in R&D to long term marketing strategies. The report can be used for evaluating business opportunities, formulating business development strategies, and product positioning in the Germany multiple sclerosis market.
Highlights of the Research:
  • Marketed Multiple Sclerosis Drugs in Germany
  • Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Analysis
  • Multiple Sclerosis Drugs Sales Analysis in Germany
  • Competitive Landscape in Germany Multiple Sclerosis market
  • Multiple Sclerosis Late Stage Pipeline
  • Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Forecast
  • Multiple Sclerosis Drugs Sales Forecast in Germany
  • Future Competitive Landscape

Key Topics Covered:
1. Multiple Sclerosis - Disease Definition
2. Marketed Multiple Sclerosis Drugs in Germany
3. Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Analysis
3a. Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Size
3b. Drugs Sales in Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market
4. Competitive Landscape in Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market
4a. Drugs Market Share in Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market
4b. Generics Market Share in Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market
4c. Multiple Sclerosis Phase 3 Clinical Trial Pipeline Molecules
4d. Multiple Sclerosis Phase 2 Clinical Trial Pipeline Molecules
5. Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market - Future Market Outlook
5a. Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market Size Forecast
5b. Drug Sales Forecast in Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market
5c. Drugs Market Share in Germany Multiple Sclerosis Market
Contact:
Research and Markets
Laura Wood, Senior Manager
press@researchandmarkets.com
For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470
For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630
For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900
U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907
Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716
Sector: Pharmaceuticals


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Sharpening Your Comic Vision: Therapeutic Humor Focuses on Strengthening Emotional Health

Provided by: Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN

Sharpening Your Comic Vision: Therapeutic Humor Focuses on Strengthening Emotional Health
By: Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D.

Just as our physical immune system protects us from toxins in our environment, our “psychological immune system” protects us from the toxins generated from psychological stressors we experience in the world around us. Research has shown that humor strengthens both our physical and psychological immune systems; it helps to sustain the psychological immune system by altering how we feel, think, and behave.

Cognitive Benefits
Humor helps break rigid thinking resulting in our ability to perceive the world more “realistically” and without distortions. Our emotional state is greatly influenced by our perception of the events around us. A stressor is not inherently stressful. The intensity of stress we experience is directly related to the way in which we perceive the stressor.
Shakespeare stated, “Nothing is good or bad. It is thinking that makes it so.” Because one person’s view of a particular stressor influences the impact of that stressor, a variety of people experiencing the same stressor may have vastly different reactions, depending on the meaning they place on the stressor.

For example, someone who feels excessive anger often believes that the world must treat him “fairly,” and when it does not treat him so, he becomes angry. Humor helps adjust this particular belief system by providing a more realistic perspective on an “unfair world.”
Someone who experiences excessive anxiety often believes that she must perform well to be accepted or valued. When an environmental stressor challenges her performance, she experiences anxiety.

Humor, again, can provide a clearer perspective, placing her “performance” in a healthier relation to the specific environment so that the individual changes her thinking pattern from “I must perform to be okay” to “I would like to perform well, but I’m okay even when I don’t do as well as I hoped.”

Emotional Benefits
Humor not only relieves distressful feelings, but it also helps teach us that we have the ability to “manage” our emotional states. One can’t experience distressing emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, or resentment and experience humor at the same time. You may have heard someone who is very angry say, “Don’t make me laugh. I want to be angry.” You cannot maintain a high level of anger and laugh at the same time.

When I asked one of my clients (who was very “dedicated” to her depression) what upset her about my humorous interventions, she replied, “When you make me laugh, I do not feel depressed.” My humor momentarily relieved some of her depression, which she seemed committed to maintaining! Humor and distressful emotions cannot occupy the same emotional/psychological space.

Since the experience of humor affects our emotions, we can learn to manage our emotional distress through humor. While humorous interventions may not remove chronic depression, they can – for a few moments, at least – relieve emotional upset, teaching us experientially that depression and other distressing emotions can be lessened or temporarily relieved when we experience humor.

Understanding the Elements of Humor
We receive humor as a combination of wit (the cognitive experience), mirth (the emotional experience), and laughter (the physiological experience). While laughter is readily observed as a result of a humorous experience, wit and mirth are internal and not as obvious to others. However, a sense of humor is comprised of a combination of these components. Just because someone does not laugh does not mean that they lack a sense of humor. They may be experiencing wit or mirth but not laughter.

Wit occurs when we “appreciate” humor. It is the liking, understanding, and the “getting it” that we experience as humorous. The health benefit of wit lies in its ability to help us break rigid mindsets that are common among those of us who experience a great deal of distress such as depression, anxiety, and anger.  Wit helps us to see the world with perspective and thus reduces the impact of the stressors around us. Exaggeration is an example of one type of humor that helps break rigid thinking patterns and provides perspective.

Mirth is the emotional experience of humor consisting of joy, pleasure, or inner warmth that may occur. Distressing emotions and mirth cannot occupy the same psychological space. As we experience mirth, our inner distresses dissolve and a pleasant sunny spirit takes their place. We know this intuitively, as illustrated by people using humor instinctively to reduce their anxiety or anger.

And, finally, laughter is the physiological reaction to humor. When we laugh we are activated, our muscles contract, our pulse rate and breathing increase, and we begin to lose muscle control.

The good news is that we can reap all the therapeutic benefits of humor by developing our “comic vision” – a way of perceiving the world that allows us to be receptive to the humor around and within us. (For suggestions on how to do so, see the box on the next page.) Heightened receptivity to humor can stimulate our ability to be increasingly interactive with, and even proactive toward, the world around us. In this way we increase our perception of humor – allowing it to help us manage our biochemical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral states.
As our comic vision expands, we are energized and recharged; our desire and ability to choose activity over inactivity increases. We are more likely to greet and connect with others. And we are more likely to live healthier and happier lives as we maintain our physical and emotional resilience.

Developing Your Comic Vision: The Fun-da-Mentals 
Jest for the Health of It

To create a humorous lifestyle, we must develop our “comic vision.”  Comic vision is the ability to see the humor around us, and the ability to generate humor from within. Increasing our comic vision begins with what we find humorous and expanding our vision from there. For example, if your humor is to appreciate jokes, then learn one joke and tell it well.  Later you can learn another and so on.

Weave your Web
The internet is a great adventure in developing a comic vision. You can visit humor sites or join a humor mailing list to receive humor daily.

Make a Prop-position
Props are a fun way to add humor to your lifestyle. Carry a clown nose for a week and wear it at least once a day. I blow bubbles from my car while stopped at traffic lights. I also carry Groucho glasses and mental floss to wear in the car.

A Room “wit” a View
Humor to share abounds around us. In a restaurant recently I read a sign that said, “Children left unattended will be towed at the owner’s expense.”  Read and share the humor you discover.

Play with your Mental Blocks
You may read signs and take meanings literally.  For example, at a cashier at the end of a cafeteria line inLas Vegasthere was a sign that stated, “We only accept US traveler’s checks.” I turned to the cashier and said, “I guess I will have to put everything back. I only have cash!”  The sign wasn't meant to be funny, but I read it literally and it became funny (at least to me). I then shared my humor with the cashier.

Commit yourself
Start by committing to doing one thing to increase your comic vision. Carry and use a prop, learn and share a joke, e-mail something funny, make fun of yourself, exaggerate, and so on. It is not what is humorous that is important; instead it is what is humorous to you that is significant.

Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D, is a psychologist, university professor (Pepperdine), professional speaker, past president of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, and internationally recognized expert on therapeutic humor. With nearly 25 years in the therapeutic humor field, he has written many innovative articles, as well as a pioneering chapter on Integrating Humor into Psychotherapy  which is published in the psychology textbook Play Therapy with Adults. Dr. Sultanoff has appeared on The Morning Show, STARZ, Lifetime, and PBS and is frequently quoted in publications such as Prevention, USA Today, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health. He provides live therapeutic humor training programs, as well as online humor courses in multi-media formats. His website (www.humormatters.com) provides a wealth of information on therapeutic humor as well as a wide range of topical humor.
(Last reviewed 7/2011)



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