It was definitely not you laughing when your boss was giving you a query, or when that preacher made a grammatical mistake during his speech at your grandma’s funeral… Or, was it you? You didn’t mean to laugh, but you just couldn’t help it.
Well, it’s not uncommon! But laughing when you shouldn’t, only becomes a real problem when you can truly not stop yourself. If that’s the case for you, here are 7 steps to stop laughing at inappropriate times! It will take some practice and effort, but you’ll learn to control the impulse.
1. Focus on something Sad:
When you feel the impulse to laugh at inappropriate times, think of something sad. You can either focus on finding the saddest thing about the situation you’re in or you can draw from memory.
Learn to focus on the most boring, mundane, or saddest things when you feel like you’re going to laugh and you shouldn’t. The more you practice this little tactic, the easier and more effective it will get.
2. Take a Second to Breathe:
When you’re stressed out or you’re experiencing a negative emotion, it’s not uncommon for irrational laughter to enter the scene. However, if the time is inappropriate, try breathing to keep yourself in control.
Take a few seconds and breathe deeply. This will give your brain a moment to calm down and you will feel a lot better. Breathing exercises are super effective when it comes to calming down your nerves, which helps you fight the urge to laugh.
Count to 4 on every inhale and exhale, repeat this for at least 4 times or as long as you need. Trust me, you will feel a lot more centered after a few minutes. Sometimes, that’s enough to keep yourself in check.
3. Give Yourself a Pinch:
This one might sound masochistic, but it works. It’s called negative reinforcement and it can help you control the urge to do something you know you shouldn’t do. Whenever you feel the impulse to laugh, pinch yourself discreetly.
You can also carry a rubber band on your wrist and snap it on your skin when you feel like you’re about to laugh. This will not only help you associate inappropriate laughter with pain, but it will also provide a distraction.
4. Count Backwards from 10:
This might not sound too helpful, but it is. The key to stopping laughing at inappropriate times is a distraction. Counting backward from 10 is an easy and quick way to distract yourself. You can increase the number if you feel like the urge is too strong, so instead of counting backward from 10, you can do it from 50 or 100.
It will only take a few seconds and it’s a lot better than laughing at the wrong time. Give it a try and see how it goes. Maybe this is the only tactic you’ll need when you feel like laughing at the wrong time.
5. Cover It Up:
When you can’t stop yourself from laughing for one reason or another, you can cover it up. It will be awkward, but that’s better than making the wrong impression on people. Especially when you’re at a sensitive event, like a funeral.
So, if you’re laughing uncontrollably, try to cough. It will sound wrong, but at least it won’t be a straightforward laugh. Additionally, it’s a good reason to excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to gather yourself.
6. Try to Understand What’s Making You Laugh:
So, you’ve been laughing at the most inappropriate times and you don’t know what that’s about. Well, it could help you to try to understand why that’s happening.
Look back at the moments where you laughed irrationally and think about it. What was happening? What were you feeling? What were you thinking? This can help you identify the kind of situations that make you giggle.
Once you do, it will be easier to understand the kind of feelings that trigger this response. Hence, it will be easier to control them. That will help you find better coping mechanisms so you can handle those situations in the future.
7. Get Help:
Last but not least, you should get help if you feel like no other tactics work. Perhaps you need someone to help you manage your emotions, especially in stressful or traumatic situations.
Going to therapy is never a bad thing because it can provide the tools you need. If none of these steps work for you, you should consider doing that to find out the true and deep triggers your brain has for these reactions.
Laughing at inappropriate times is not uncommon and sometimes, people understand that.
However, if it has become a problem and makes others often get a bad impression from you, these steps can help you keep the laughter in check.