10 Small Ways to Bring Laughter and Joy Into Your Day

Taking a moment for laughter can give you the boost you need when you’re feeling down.

Getty Images
Getty Images

We know from experience that having a good laugh can help put us in a good mood, but there’s actually a lot of science behind the benefits of laughter. Research shows that laughter can help relieve stress, boost happiness, and even improve the immune system. And if you’re having a day that feels stressful or challenging, taking time to simply giggle at a funny video with a co-worker or share a joke with a friend can help give you the boost you need to channel joy and take on the rest of your day.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the little things that bring them joy and make them laugh. Which of these ideas will you try?

Listen to a comedian you love

“Listening or watching to stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan always makes me laugh! It’s even better when I can do it with my family. Having us all laugh together is such a joy.”

—Dianna O’Connell, master data analyst, Collegeville, PA

Joke around with your partner

“When I want to laugh, I turn to my husband, who has the best sense of humor. He has the wonderful ability of diffusing stressful situations, sensitively putting things into perspective, and helping me to laugh at myself, too.”

—Liggy Webb, presenter and author, Cheltenham, UK

Play with your dog

“I never fail to laugh when I look over at my yellow lab Dexter, who has a bed in my office, and I find him sleeping upside down. He has done this every single day for more than two years since I adopted him and I still laugh every single time.”

—Channing Muller, marketing consultant and coach, Chattanooga, TN 

Watch a new show

“I’ve recently discovered Netflix’s TV show The Good Place. Its witty jokes are mildly sophisticated and full of cultural references (I’m sure I miss a bunch), and so I don’t feel like I’m completely ‘wasting my time’ when I watch it. And sure enough, I find something that makes me crack up in every episode.”

—Carolina Perez Sanz, relationship coach, Miami Beach, FL

Facetime with your niece

“Facetiming with my niece brings me joy. Her innate optimism about the world around her reframes any day. I love hearing what she did that day and how much those simple pleasures meant to her. She has a zest for life that’s contagious. She always says exactly what’s on her mind — and it always cracks me up!”

 —Stacy Cassio, CEO, Charlotte, NC

Watch a heartwarming video

“What brings me joy on any given day is watching a video of puppies. There’s something fun, innocent and magical watching puppies play with their older siblings or other puppies. Super cute.” 

—Joshua Miller, executive and personal coach, Austin, TX

Tell stories with your kids

“We always make time to have dinner as a family at the end of the day. This is a screen-free time, with no phones and no tv, as we all sit at the table and share stories about our day. Our daughters often make us laugh out loud with their impressions and funny tales of their adventures. This time is always so important to reconnect and is usually a time of real joy and laughter. Not only does it provide a time in my day for light relief but it also reminds me of my purpose.”

—Jessica Brewer, founder of Emiz HR & Coaching, London, UK

Look at photos of your pets

“When I’m working remotely, my two pups are almost always nearby in my office. But if I am working on-site away from my home, I let my partner know I’ll require pet pictures throughout the day! The occasional silly image of my pups is often just what I need to shake off the stress. I also have a curated photo album on my phone of the ‘keepers’ for times when things are entirely too serious. Their levity and innocence is a constant reminder not to take myself too seriously.”

—KSweitzer, project manager, Bellingham, WA

Let yourself laugh at your mistakes

“One thing that always brings me joy and makes me laugh is making mistakes. For years I would dread this, and when I made a mistake I would ask myself, ‘How could you do this?’ But not anymore. Everything changed when I gave up my role of being perfect. The minute I said, ‘I am doing the best I can every single day; I am enough,’ my life transformed. I now celebrate mistakes. I find them refreshing and I learn so much from them. My saying now is: ‘Fail big and fast!’ This helps you by not spending money, time and energy on something that doesn’t work for you. You better find it out sooner than later. Nowadays, I always treat mistakes with laughs and joy, and I am grateful to find out about them because it helps me keep moving forward.”

—Lia Zorzou, transformation and emotional intelligence expert, Athens, Greece

Spend time with people who bring you joy

“My husband and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary and he has made me laugh each of our days! We have an incredibly happy marriage, full of adventure, silliness, made up stories, inside jokes, random singing and our ‘go-to’ moves. Right now, smiles have been very tough to come by as my mom passed away unexpectedly two months ago, so all of the days since then have been very dark — and often he is the only thing that can bring me light. He makes me want to laugh and feel happy again, which is the greatest compliment I can give.”

—Donna Skillman, BI developer and charity board member, North Palm Beach, FL

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