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Go ahead, laugh: It’s good for you

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Describing someone who is angry as “about to burst a blood vessel” is not just a figure of speech.

Scientists don’t yet understand exactly how laughing protects the cardiovascular system, but researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine do know that people who develop heart disease are 40% less likely to laugh in given situations, and that stress is related to damage in the protective lining of blood vessels.

What’s more, other studies from Stanford University medical school and the College of William and Mary show that humor stimulates the brain, especially the frontal lobe where we make decisions.

In recent years, a growing number of companies have strived to foster workplaces that encourage laughter and fun, making for healthier and more motivated employees. Examples:

Bain & Company, the business consulting firm, gathers more than 400 employees from around the world for the annual Bain World Cup soccer tournament.

Lego America encourages employees to get around the corporate campus via scooter.

Google has Scrabble tournaments throughout the day and boasts a baby grand piano in the break room.

Whole Foods’ break room has a chalkboard for workers to doodle on.

What’s the most fun you’ve had at work? Send us your story so we can publish the best ideas in an upcoming issue: admineditor@nibm.net.

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