Easy Ways To Add More Laughter To Your Life
Maya Angelou once said, “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.” I agree completely. For many reasons I believe laughter is one of the best things in life. In fact, last year I read an article which declared that the only compelling reason to be with a special someone was to have someone to laugh with. After all, you could always call a professional to fix your leaky toilet.
On the Appalachian Trail I once ran into a familiar face who told me that my laughter had been heard before I came into view. I can only imagine what I may have been laughing about, as life can become quite hilarious when you are living in the woods out of a backpack.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the studies which measure how infrequently adults laugh compared to young children. While I haven’t looked into the particulars of these studies, I’ve noticed from spending time with young children that they laugh significantly more than most adults. My youngest niece, when she was about eighteen months old, used to make monster noises and then laugh merrily in response. At the time I remember thinking how wonderful it was to watch her laugh so freely.
Under what circumstances do you think it is inappropriate to laugh?
There are unquestionably times when it’s inappropriate to laugh: when consoling a friend who has had a miscarriage; while watching a serious documentary about the holocaust in a movie theater; and so forth. I recognize life is full of serious, difficult moments. Nonetheless, it is also full of absurdity, silliness, and laughter. Sometimes it’s all about having the right perspective; however, there are other times when even the sunniest attitude cannot extract humor from a tragedy.
I think of laughter as invisible glue which binds people together. Laughing on the phone with my significant other makes me automatically feel closer to him. Also, my life would be incomplete without the occasions when Grandma Glenna and I quote lines from the beloved A&E version of “Pride and Prejudice” and laugh heartedly afterwards. Is it therefore any surprise that Victor Borge once said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”?
If you aren’t as prone to giggling, chuckling, and full-blown laughter as I often am, do not despair. There certainly is hope, and one form of this comes in the suggestions I am about to offer.
The first is to create inside jokes with those in your life. In college one of my suitemates and I developed a running joke about the “naughty” Santa decoration another suitemate has affixed to the outside of our door. Even writing about this joke makes me giggle. It helps, I suppose, that I have a picture of this friend smiling mischievously next to our “naughty” Santa decoration. Inside jokes don’t have to be scandalous; indeed, often the funniest ones are not. It may even be a single catchphrase which inspires the person who utters it and the one who hears it to sink into wholehearted laughter. Whatever works for you should be what you pursue, and I mention the above story merely as an example.
Another way to encourage more laughter in your life is to not take yourself so seriously. I’ve learned that the ability to laugh at myself—often before anyone else can—is marvelously helpful. After all, I am not immune from spilling on myself or saying the wrong thing in a serious situation. Once on the Appalachian Trail I fell down unexpectedly, and I remember sitting there laughing at myself. It wasn’t a slapstick, ultra-hilarious moment, but laughing at myself was much better than chastising myself for losing my footing.
It’s also helpful to spend time with young children. Being with young children helps me remember how important it is to play. Some of my favorite memories with my nieces involve pretending to be princesses—although they usually made me queen—aboard a ship with “Frozen”-inspired powers which were used to fight alligators and pirates. Watching them create this imaginary world amused me greatly. Indeed, remembering it makes me laugh and shake my head with amusement.
Increased laughter frequently comes when you give yourself permission to be more childlike. This may entail jumping in muddle puddles, making castles out of Play-Doh, or playing with finger paints. Or perhaps you want to visit Walmart and try on unstylish hats or sunglasses. These activities may initially seem foolish and possibly immature. It may appear there is no point to such behavior. Yet there is a point, and that is having fun and being whimsical. Whimsicality can usher in much laughter, and it often requires being willing to act childlike.
I’ve loved reading comics since I was young; consequently, I’m biased in favor of reading them in order to laugh more. Many comic strips can be found online; in addition, you can check out volumes of certain comic strips—such as Dilbert, The Far Side, Zits, Calvin & Hobbes, Peanuts, and beyond—from your local library. I own volumes of The Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes. Over the years I’ve discovered that it takes being in an exceptionally sour mood for these volumes not to inspire me to laugh out loud. Even thinking about favorite moments in each comic strip can make me laugh—or at least smile—under the right circumstances.
More laughter can enter your life when you spend time with lighthearted people. Finding people you can laugh with is a gift, and I cannot imagine my life without having certain friends, my significant other, and various family members to laugh with. I’ve also observed that you can inspire people to be more lighthearted by laughing while with them.
Developing an attitude of deliberate gratitude is essential. Gratitude can make unpleasant events more bearable by helping you see the silver lining and the humor of the situation. If, for instance, you’ve spilled an entire container of vinegar on your kitchen floor, a grateful approach response would involve being thankful that the mess wasn’t worse than it was. Also, later on, you may be amused to find that the shoes you were wearing still smell slightly of vinegar despite your efforts to clean them.
Watching funny videos on YouTube is another option. I love the Henri the cat videos; in addition, I often chuckle when watching clips of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” What you prefer to watch will depend on what type of humor you find most amusing, yet I can’t imagine there aren’t a few videos which will prompt you to giggle, chortle, chuckle, or laugh mightily.
Viewing silly movies—if such humor appeals to you—is another way to welcome more laughter into your life. Movies such as “Airplane!” and “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” amuse me so much merely thinking about favorite scenes can make me laugh out loud. If you are in need of a large dose of laughter, I would suggest a movie marathon of your favorite comedies. This event is best shared with friends or a special someone if possible.
Finally, spending time with old friends is another way to laugh more. Reminiscing about past adventures—or, more accurately, misadventures—may prompt a giggling session. Moreover, consider doing goofy things together such as playing Twister or having a water balloon fight.
There are many other ways to inspire you to laugh more. The important thing is to find whatever methods work best for you. Once you find the means to increase the amount of laughter in your life, don’t forget to notice how the influx of laughter and whimsicality transforms your life.