Laughter is wonderful. It’s primitive. It’s easily recognized, promotes bonding, and is health providing, independent of culture or geographic region. It’s a form of verbal and non-verbal language that has so many benefits to the “doer” and the “witness” of laughter.

I like to think of myself as a student of laughter — not necessarily the science of it — but the expression, application, reception and cultivation of it. I love it and I’m deeply grateful for my teachers of laughter.

For how important laughter is, there’s a bit of a void in the science of laughter. While there’s no known “laughter center” in the brain — many neuroscientists think that laughter incorporates a handful of regions of the brain (prefrontal cortex, limbic system, hippocampus to name just a few).

Laughter has been linked to fostering social bonding and boosting immune functions. It’s the former that grips me – that special bond and laughter that accompanies relationships “that do difficult things.” Laughter is a form of communication that hangs in the balance between something being a bit “off” (unsettling), and at the same time, simultaneously being acceptable (sometimes barely). One of the joys (for me, at least) of doing things that are difficult with others, is that doing the difficult thing earns one the right to laugh about all the little thoughts, actions, non-actions, considerations, mishaps that are barely noticeable to most, but intimately felt by those in the center of the “difficult thing.”

Congressman Tim Ryan knows how to laugh — and — how to serve. He’s designed his life efforts to help our country be better. I hope you’ll enjoy both in this podcast.

He’s a relentless advocate for working families in Ohio’s 13th District. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and was sworn in on January 3, 2003. Successfully reelected six times, he is now serving in his seventh term. Congressman Ryan currently serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee which controls the expenditure of money by the federal government.

Ryan is also a member of the House Budget Committee which has oversight over the federal budget process. Ryan serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus and remains a leader in the fight to strengthen America’s manufacturing base and reform U.S. trade policies.

He is the author of A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit and The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm.


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In This Episode:

  • Dealing with public skepticism of corruption in politics
  • How grit helped him win his first election
  • Defying the odds and taking chances
  • Inspiring others to work hard with him
  • Dealing with the heartbreak of a career ending football injury
  • The meaning of being a leader
  • Why he cares about politics
  • Transforming education with a new common core
  • The importance of new forms of energy
  • Meditation practices
  • Why sports lessons can become life lessons


U.S Representative |

Tim Ryan is the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district, serving since 2003. The district, numbered as the 17th district from 2003 to 2013, takes in a large swath of northeast Ohio, from Youngstown to Akron.