Humor at Work: Fuel for the Brain

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Cortex

Dr. Peter Derks has discovered, through MRI and PET scans, that

when we laugh after tapping into our sense of humor, a wave of

electricity sweeps through our entire cerebral cortex, rather

than just lighting up a specific region. Derks suspects that

the left hemisphere works out the verbal content; the right

side tackles the incongruity behind the humor.

Whether or not this a good “workout” for the brain, we do know

from more and more studies that humor helps people cope with

stress. A study at the University of Waterloo and University

of Western Ontario found that stressed-out people with a

strong sense of humor become less depressed and anxious than

people with poorly developed senses of humor. A University

of Pennsylvania study found that students who used humor as a

coping tool were more likely to maintain a positive mood, and

a study of seniors found that those who had a good sense of

humor coped better with depression.

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Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Every now and then you need to do something a little silly.

So grab a few cans of Silly String (yes, it’s still around) and

conduct a surprise humor silly string raid on an unsuspecting

department. (Or, if you are particularly silly, the CEO.)

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Quote of the Week

“People do work for money – but they work even more for meaning

in their lives. In fact, they work to have fun. Companies that

ignore this fact are essentially bribing their employees and

will pay the price in a lack of loyalty and commitment.” Jeffrey

Pfeffer, “Six Dangerous Myths About Pay’, Harvard Business Review

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It’s a Wacky World

The University of Baltimore is offering a new university class

on zombies! (Of course, if this class has been around a while this

could explain some of the customer service I’ve received

recently.)

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