Skip to content

    Health & Balance

    Font Size

    Lighten Up

    A chuckle a day

    Learning the art of laughter

    Laughing more often and seeing humor in stressful situations can be learned. Larry Wilde, a former standup comedian who founded the Carmel (Calif.) Institute of Humor, makes a living as a motivational humorist, teaching people to laugh. At 72, he says he is free of heart disease.

    Wilde hosts laughter-boosting conferences for corporations, associations, and healthcare providers. He also has a web site that offers mini lessons. Among the titles: Up Your Laugh Quotient ("Embrace the notion that humor is not incompatible with dignity and stature.") Wilde uses his own sense of humor to make others laugh: On the phone with a reporter, he says, "Why don't you come to dinner?' Told that the reporter lives more than 300 miles away, he isn't fazed. "We'll send down a jet." Which, of course, makes the reporter laugh.)

    You also can improve your sense of humor on your own, Miller says:

    • Place a photo of a family event that makes you smile or laugh, or a clipping of a magazine or newspaper cartoon that made you giggle, in plain view.
    • Realize that humor is subjective. Figure out what you think is funny and expose yourself to it. "My wife thinks Seinfeld is funny," Miller says. "I don't. I think The Honeymooners is funny, but my wife doesn't."
    • Consider gathering a group of friends and engaging in an activity that no one excels at. It could be ice-skating, tennis, or basketball. The point, Miller says, is that if everyone is equally bad, you'll soon be laughing at yourselves.

    Finally, for Valentine's Day: Buy your loved one a funny video instead of artery-clogging chocolates.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    woman in yoga class
    6 health benefits of yoga.
    beautiful girl lying down of grass
    10 relaxation techniques to try.
    mature woman with glass of water
    Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
    coffee beans in shape of mug
    Get the facts.
    Take your medication
    Hand appearing to hold the sun
    Hungover man
    Welcome mat and wellington boots
    Woman worn out on couch
    Happy and sad faces
    Fingertip with string tied in a bow
    laughing family