My 10 Takeaways from College Tours

The past year has been a whirlwind having visited 16 college campuses across the country with my daughter.   What a far cry from the number of college applications I submitted (3) and number of visits made (0).  In fact the first time I ever set foot on any college campus was the day of my orientation at Rutgers.  Yet after touring colleges with my eldest daughter a decade ago, the process has become considerably more daunting, given the continued skyrocketing costs (up to 90% increases in college tuition this decade alone).  Yet, despite these challenges, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience;  st louis cardinals uscdukeDartmouth College Tour

watching my daughter’s face light up when touring some of these schools was priceless. Some of the highlights (pictured) included catching a Cardinals game during our visit to St. Louis, enjoying a tour at USC, visiting the beautiful Duke campus and experiencing the spring blizzard in Hanover.

Here are my top 10 takeaways from our college tour-

  1. Most beautiful campus: Washington University (St. Louis, MO)
  2. Best on-campus food: Duke (Durham, NC)
  3. Quaintest college town: Dartmouth (Hanover, NH)
  4. Best campus beach: Northwestern (Chicago, IL)
  5. Most impressive library: Yale (New Haven, CN) 
  6. Best off-campus living:  UCLA (Los Angeles, CA)
  7. Most historic campus: UVA (Charlottesville, VA)
  8. Most innovative instruction: Babson (Wellesley, MA)
  9. Most “woke” students: Brown  (Providence, RI)
  10. Most memorable on-campus sculpture (Jumbo the Elephant): Tufts (Boston, MA)

Dr. Michael Miller is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His latest book is “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“ with all proceeds donated to the American Heart Association.

 

 

 

Why Laughter Yoga Can “Heal Your Heart”

with alexa drubaymadan2laughter yoga2

It has been 10 years since my 1st Laughter Yoga Convention in Miami and over this relatively short period,  new research has provided important insights into why laughter yoga can heal your heart.  Earlier this month I had the distinct pleasure of presenting this research and catching up with colleagues (pictured with Alexa Drubay and Madan Kataria, Founder of the Laughter Yoga Movement) for the Annual Laughter Yoga Convention in Zion, Illinois.  So why is Laughter Yoga so good for you?  Let me count the ways….

  1.  Laughter Yoga improves blood pressure.  Practicing laughter yoga can reduce systolic blood pressure as much as 6 mmHg, corresponding to a 5-10% reduction in stroke risk.  In fact, a large Japanese study found that laughing rarely compared to laughing daily was associated with a 60% increased risk of stroke!
  2. Laughter Yoga reduces aging of our blood vessels.  Risk factors such as stress and high blood pressure lead to premature stiffness and aging of our blood vessels; laughter and especially laughter yoga can slow down and may even to some extent reverse this process.
  3. Laughter Yoga is physical activity.  If laughing without any physical activity can burn calories, just think what a 30-40 minute session of laughter yoga can do…100-200 calories!
  4. Laughter Yoga is a social activity that improves high level social connections. High level social connections is one of my proven prescriptions to reduce stressful brain (amygdala) activity associated with inflammation, heart attack and stroke.

So what are you waiting for?  Go out, explore and enjoy Laughter Yoga in your community…your heart will be most grateful!

Dr. Michael Miller is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His latest book is “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease“ with all proceeds donated to the American Heart Association.