Laughter as a Coping Strategy


We often forget to be intentional about incorporating humor into our lives. We take it for granted. When life gets difficult, laughter and humor can seem to evaporate, leaving life bleak.

Incorporating humor as a coping strategy can bring some positivity back into daily life. 

This is an idea that is gaining traction and has developed into various forms of group therapy including laughing yoga. The idea is that voluntary laughter can activate the same positive brain chemicals as spontaneous laughter. It can leave one feeling happier and less burdened.

Here are some ideas of how you might incorporate humor into your routine:

  1. Find a few comedian’s podcasts so that you can regularly tune in while driving – This is a great way to combat frustration with traffic. Or, if you are heading to a stressful situation like an interview, it can help to listen to something funny on your way to the event. 
  2. Watch funny videos when feeling anxious, sad, angry, etc. – I knew a client who would pull up funny Youtube videos when they felt sad or anxious and it left them feeling more positive in a matter of minutes. 
  3. Imagine if a situation in your life was a plot in a witty sitcom – Going through a situation that seems somewhat ridiculous and annoying, let yourself imagine if your situation was a plot in a favorite sitcom like The Office or Parks and Rec. What would Dwight or Leslie do in that situation? Not that you should follow their lead, but imagining this might bring some humor to your real life situation. 
  4. Play silly games with family and friends – There are a wealth of silly board and card games to help you incorporate laughter into your quality time with family and friends. 
  5. Attend comedy events or a laughter club – Join with others in the community to engage with humor either in an entertaining format like a comedy club or specifically a therapeutic laughter club (now offered in many major cities). If you don’t live near one, look into online options. 

Written by: Melanie Ross, LPC