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18 Simple Ways To Put Laughter Back Into Your Life

18 Simple Ways To Put Laughter Back Into Your Life
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While going through one of life’s rough patches, I noticed I wasn’t laughing much anymore. Okay, it was worse than that: I was actually finding myself annoyed at the sound of laughter wafting down the hallway in my apartment building, and out on the streets. I knew I needed help. So I sought out advice from my community. I was able to find simple ways to put laughter back into your life, and mine.

Here are some of their very wise answers:

Watch funny YouTube videos

By far, the number one answer was to tap into the laugh-inducing parts of YouTube. You’ll see a few examples here in this post, but you might want to start with this 55 seconds of laughter from Kid President:

Tune into sitcoms or sketches (on TV or Radio)

Type “Comedy” into Pandora and you will have tons of amazing comedians doing 2–5 minute sketches. Keeps me in stitches! ~ Sophie Boselly

One thing I have done when feeling this way is watching stupid, silly, frivolous videos on YouTube, or sitcoms online. Seems like a small step, but it lightens up my mood. ~ Ko-Shin Musica

Look up some of Jack Handy’s Deep Thoughts from old SNL. I was having a very frustrating negotiation this week and this really helped me. ~ Ana Micka

Start a gratitude journal

Focusing on things you’re grateful for, rather than on things that have been bothering you (like anger, or grief) can be a subtle way to invite laughter back into your life.

Start with gratitude – what’s in your life that you’re really grateful for? (Sometimes it’s as simple as breath, a comfy bed, clothes to wear, food to eat.) ~ Samantha Nolan-Smith

Create a Pinterest board

I have two go-to, make-me-happy things! 1) YouTube videos 2) I keep a Pinterest board on funny things. Sit down for a good 30 minutes with either of these and I am good to go! ~ Andrea Travillian

Don’t force laughter

Don’t force it. Pushing through the bumps or resisting them doesn’t get us anywhere. Better to accept: I’m in a funk now, that’s OK. Welcome the funk, have a chat with it, let it know it’s welcome to stay and then just get on with your day. Accepting what is is the quickest route to transforming it. ~ Samantha Nolan-Smith

Force yourself to laugh

Yes, I know it’s a direct contradiction to my last point, but listen to this reasoning. It may be as simple as smiling, even if it feels fake for a while.

Force yourself to laugh at something, but do it in a big, forced laugh and make it as weird as possible. You will start laughing for real. I promise. It works every time. ~ Lauren Kesseler Doyle

Spend time with children

Being around kids does it for me. Watching them discover new things is the best. ~ Malaika Paul

As for the laughter thing. My top tip is to find children to play with or watch them play. Nothing like the sweet innocence of childhood to help shed our grumpy Grinch goblins. ~ Henna Datta

Practice a silent giggle

Use the silent giggle by holding on to your thought that makes you giggle. Don’t let it go. You will express absolute joy with your eyes and people are drawn to you. The trick to it is to be sincere with your level of joy from the silent giggle. Don’t force it and don’t come off as if you are laughing at anyone. Just be in that place of joy that comes from the giggle. ~ Rhonda Lee

Spend time with pets

Playing with my dog and watching her play with other dogs. Volunteer at a dog shelter and socialize with the puppies. You won’t be able to help yourself. ~ Natalia Real

photo credit: Canoozle Pets via photopin cc

    People watch

    Go out and people watch. You are bound to see something that will make you laugh and smile. We can be pretty silly beings. ~ Sharon Otness

    Go to a cat show. The people watching there is over the top. ~ Rowan TwoSisters

    One thing she suggests is to listen to people laugh. Like, watch videos or get recordings of people just laughing – nothing else – and listen. She said it would get you to laugh, too. Well, to be honest…I was not sure whether I believe that…just listening to laughing would not make me laugh, right? Until I watched this video. If you make it through it without cracking a smile you are in serious trouble! ~ Ursula Markgraf

    Spend some time reading

    Also, not sure if poetry is your thing. But here’s one of my poems that may help clear some of those cobwebs that are temporarily dimming you. ~ Henna Datta

    Get a fun tattoo

      Danielle ~ Moustache Tattoo

      You’ve heard of tattooing a special note on your forehead so that you don’t forget something? Try out Danielle’s tip for remembering to laugh.

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      I know this is dorky but I got a mustache tattooed on my finger as a way to keep me laughing. When I start to get stressed out with all the grown-up responsibilities like raising kids, keeping up with work, paying bills and maintaining the household, I just look at myself in the mirror and raise my finger to my upper lip. It’s hard not to laugh when you see yourself sporting a sweet ‘stache. ~ Danielle Ford

      Go after the funny!

      My answer is not to take yourself or anyone else too seriously. Step back and see the ridiculous in it all. Then go after the funny! Read funny blogs – The Oatmeal, Buzzfeed, Reddit, Funny or Die. Lastly, watch stand up comic specials. Eddie Murphy Raw. Richard Pryor. Bill Cosby. Lisa Lampanelli. Sarah Silverman. Seinfeld. Sandler. Roseanne. Watch reruns of the Carol Burnett show. Old SNL skits on YouTube. Anything parody or observational that is relatable and irrelevant. Go after laughter and study it like a science. It’s easy and quick. ~ Jessica Kupferman

      Do something really silly – or something you might have done as a kid

      Some great suggestions are:

      • cartwheels
      • skipping
      • talk in a funny accent
      • sing really loud in the bathroom
      • embarrass yourself
      • roll down a hill, in the grass, leaves or the snow
      • throw popcorn or M&Ms into a friend’s mouth

       I allow my inner 4-year-old to have her tantrum about whatever is sucking at the moment, complete with the racy vocabulary this 42-year-old has acquired. I mean all out tantrum! It’s usually pretty funny. ~ Wendy Reese

      I suggest doing something that you loved as a kid and haven’t done in a long, long time. Do that thing and immerse yourself in it – no thinking other thoughts. Just observe the sky, your feet, the movement. Sometimes, it’s the body that remembers the pleasure that the mind forgets. ~ Julia Price McPherson

      I would say do something silly you only think about but never dare to. Example, make a “I’m a rock star/diva” video of yourself lip-syncing to your favorite song with all of your being into it. You don’t have to show it to anyone, just do it. ~ Dali Rivera

       

      Remove negativity in your environment

      I stop watching the news, hide people in my news-feed who are chronically negative, I stop reading magazines that make me feel crappy, I turn off sad music…turning down the volume on all of these helps amplify the great things in my life that bring me laughter. ~ Jodi McMurray

      Create something

      Craft something beautiful, or something that makes you laugh, or something to give to a friend or loved one. We’re not looking for perfection here, just pleasure. ~ Judy Tweal

      Do something creative that you’re really bad at! If you can’t draw, get the pencils out. Can’t sing? Go for it really loudly in the car or the shower, or wherever you like. When we’re kids we do things just because they’re fun and they feed our creative spirit. The magic is in the doing not the results. Laugh heartily at your drawing that makes a man’s head look like a pumpkin. Crack up that you are totally and completely off-key. It’s still fun and it frees you. ~ Suzanne Dosal Gray

      Get outside and do something

      Exercise…it really helps! Get out an walk in nature, or run or, especially, dance. Zumba has gotten me through some tough days! ~ Lisa Bloom

      Work out first thing in the morning. You can’t believe the ideas it generates. Plus it doubles as meditation time (for me). I often listen to inspirational podcasts and audiobooks (Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work). ~ Sophie Boselly

      Listen to music or dance

      This song always helps me when I’m feeling down. ~ Gillian Byers

      Put on some fun, ‘dancey’ music and just let go in the middle of the workday! Sing out loud – you will laugh at yourself. Better yet, dance with your dog. I can’t help but giggle when my chihuahua is my dance partner. ~ Sophie Boselly

      Check out 24HourofHappy.com for a full day of happy dance music

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      24hoursofhappy

        Hopefully these suggestions help you as much as they helped me. Here’s to simple laughter in your life and mine.

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        Last Updated on July 20, 2021

        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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        You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

        Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

        Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

        1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

        According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

        “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

        Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

        Warming up

        If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

        If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

        Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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        1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
        2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
        3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

        Stay hydrated

        Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

        To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

        Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

        Meditate

        Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

        Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

        Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

        Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

        2. Focus on your goal

        One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

        Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

        Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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        Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

        If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

        3. Convert negativity to positivity

        There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

        ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

        It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

        Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

        Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

        Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

        4. Understand your content

        Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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        However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

        “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

        Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

        Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

        One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

        5. Practice makes perfect

        Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

        In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

        Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

        6. Be authentic

        There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

        Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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        Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

        To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

        With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

        Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

        7. Post speech evaluation

        Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

        Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

        We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

        You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

        Improve your next speech

        As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

        Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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        • How did I do?
        • Are there any areas for improvement?
        • Did I sound or look stressed?
        • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
        • Was I saying “um” too often?
        • How was the flow of the speech?

        Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

        If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

        Reference

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