How to Laugh

Three Parts:Finding HumorLearning to RelaxPracticing Laughter

Laughter really may be the best medicine. It provides a vigorous workout to tighten your stomach and strengthen your heart, and regular laughing may boost your immune system. Leading a busy, serious life, however, can make laughing more the exception than the rule. If you want to live a happy, healthy, joy-filled life, you need to learn to laugh. Read below the jump to learn to make laughter part of your life or get more specific advice by checking out the sections listed above.

Part 1
Finding Humor

  1. Image titled Laugh Step 1
    Smile more. Studies have shown that people laugh harder while holding a straw in their teeth, rather than holding a straw in their lips. This is because your body responds subconsciously to the sensation of smiling and assumes laughter will come. If you're ready to start laughing more, smiling more will trick your body into it.[1]
    • Many people's resting face is a kind of scowl. Train yourself to smile as you're working, jogging, and even while you're concentrating reading a book. Make a nice smile your go-to face.
    • As you're walking to work or to the bus, make a point of smiling at each stranger you pass on your way. It's a good way to practice and get ready for laughing, and it's also polite.
  2. Image titled Laugh Step 2
    Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. You're all ready for a fun night with friends and your college roommate's high school friend decides to start complaining about work. If you're feeling down in the dumps and having trouble learning to laugh, it'll be worse if you're surrounding yourself with "Debbie Downers." Instead of socializing with people who bring you down, hang out with your friends that are always cutting up and making you laugh.
    • Take control of bad group conversations. If you're in a group of complainers, change the subject. If everyone's talking about things they don't like, talk about things you do like. People tend to spiral and follow suit, so one person can bring the collective laughter down several notches. Bring it back up by asking a silly question or telling a light-hearted story.
    • You don't have to dump unfunny friends, but make a point of seeking out new friends who make you laugh and who are ready to laugh. When you're around them, you'll be ready to laugh too.
  3. Image titled Laugh Step 3
    Watch funny movies and TV programs. Even if your taste runs more to drama or horror, take a break from your usual habits and watch something with Will Ferrell in it. Find the things that make you laugh the hardest and check spend time laughing instead of thinking hard about a plot or being depressed by a documentary.
    • If modern comedies don't do it for you, check out the Jokers of yore. Watch Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor cut up together, or check out one of Mel Brooks' parodies. Go back even farther and check out I Love Lucy, the Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, and Buster Keaton to get some sense of the grandparents of comedy.
    • It doesn't matter how old you are: Tom & Jerry is funny. Pour a bowl of sugary cereal and recreate the Saturday mornings of childhood.
  4. Image titled Laugh Step 4
    Switch off the news. It's harder to laugh if you start every day by listening to a catalogue of atrocities and economic disparity on NPR. Instead, download comedy podcasts or listen to humorous radio programs and get your news fix by reading the paper later in the day.
    • If you still want a dose of the news but leavened by some humor, checking out the Jon Stewart can keep you (almost) just as informed, but also in a much lighter way.
    • If you're a newspaper addict, start with the funnies and the human interest stories before you get too deep into the depressing stuff. Switch back and forth to keep your mood light. Don't overdose on darkness.

Part 2
Learning to Relax

  1. Image titled Laugh Step 5
    Laugh at yourself. Learning to laugh at yourself is one of the biggest differences between happy people and depressed people. If you can turn awkward moments, mistakes, and shortcomings as opportunities for a good laugh at your own expense, those things will hold less sway over you.[2]
    • Laughing at yourself helps to distinguish between "who you are" and "what you do." Everyone mucks up at some point, and it doesn't have to define you as a person. Laughing at yourself communicates to both you and the people around you that it's no big deal.
  2. Image titled Laugh Step 6
    Don't worry about the sound of your laugh. Everyone's laugh is unique, so as long as yours is polite and the source of legitimate joy, you don't need to worry about having an "ugly" laugh. There's no such thing.
    • If you're uptight about laughing and constantly worried what people will think of you, it's hard to really let go and have fun. If you're hanging out with the kind of people who make fun of someone for laughing, find new friends.
  3. Image titled Laugh Step 7
    Take your time. You're probably a busy person, but learning to take time out for yourself and spend time just being yourself will lighten your mood significantly and keep you calm and ready to laugh. Ambition and work are good things, but in moderation, so learn to temper your goal-making and your competitiveness with a willingness to laugh at yourself and enjoy your life.
    • Make sure you do something you enjoy each day. Unwind by playing a record and smiling to yourself, having your favorite drink. Keep control of your mood.

Part 3
Practicing Laughter

  1. Image titled Laugh Step 8
    Force a few chuckles. When you're alone at your house, or when you're driving to work, try laughing a few times as realistically as you can. Often, your body needs a kind of jump start to get in the mood for laughter. Even if you don't find something particularly funny to laugh at, just making yourself laugh can get you started on a healthy giggling fit.
    • Start with three short "ha" sounds and do several sets of forced laughs to get started with. You'll be surprised at how quickly forced laughs can turn into legitimate ones.
    • Think of something you found funny in the past and laughed at. Recall it during your laugh session to help stimulate the laughs.
  2. Image titled Laugh Step 9
    Pay attention to the physical sensations of laughter. Regular laughing may boost your immune system, oxygenate your blood, tighten your stomach muscles, and release healthy chemicals in your brain that boost your mood. When you laugh, put your hand on your diaphragm and feel it. When you practice laughter in the future, make sure you can feel it deep in your body.
    • Treating laughter as an exercise will keep your funny muscles strong. Practice laughing with a wide grin and a deep belly chuckle. You'll feel better afterward.
  3. Image titled Laugh Step 10
    Commit to laughter. If you decide that you're going to laugh more, make yourself laugh at least once every day. Practice sets of laughing on your way to work, or after you get home and you want to unwind a bit.
    • At work, schedule regular laugh breaks. Better than a cigarette, take fifteen minutes to cue up a funny YouTube video and have a healthy chuckle to keep yourself productive and relaxed.[3]
  4. Image titled Laugh Step 11
    Try laughter yoga. If you find it hard to stimulate laughter when you're all alone, many cities have "laughter yoga" groups, with a guided laughter practice. Like regular yoga, laughter yoga is guided by trained professionals who can help get you chuckling as if it were an exercise routine. While it may seem silly to laugh in a big group of strangers, many people attest to its health benefits and the effect of laughter yoga on mood.[4]


  • Have your own sense of humor too. Make your own joke- something that is truly funny to you.
  • Although the best laugh is generally from a person, it is helpful to go online and search for funny quotes, jokes, pictures, stories, etc.
  • A lot of people don't like their laugh because of the way they look while laughing and not because of the actual sound. If this is the case, don't forget that you can just put your hands up to your mouth when you laugh.
  • Make sure that the way you laugh is acceptable to others by looking around while you laugh. (If so, good. If not, work on it.)
  • Make funny faces in the mirror that will make you smile and eventually laugh.
  • Say a funny joke.
  • Think of some happy or funny memories. Doing this will make it easier to conjure up a laugh.
  • Visualize ridiculously crazy pictures or events. For example, consider a rat chasing a bull.


  • Laughing is healthy, but don't bust a stitch.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Laughter and Smiling