Sometimes, you just can’t help feeling the urge to laugh. If you allow yourself to laugh at serious moments, you may offend someone. Controlling the urge to laugh is not always easy, but it can be done.
Steps

  1. Make sure that you really shouldn’t laugh. They say that “laughter is the best medicine,” and if the occasion is very serious, others may not appreciate your laughter.
  2. If you decide that there is no way you can go ahead and laugh, try to think of something very sad and depressing. If you need inspiration, the daily news is usually full of unfortunate events that will suffice to calm you down. Think about something that makes you want to cry. Although this can be unpleasant, it usually takes care of the uncontrollable urge to laugh.
  3. If the above does not work, you may want to try pinching yourself or causing some other strong physical sensation, such as biting your inner cheek or your tongue (don’t bite too hard!). This can act as a distraction, helping you beat the urge to laugh.
  4. Just stop breathing when you are about to laugh or laughing and the smile will just slide away in seconds.

Tips

  • Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. What makes inappropriate laughter difficult to control is the out of control aspect of it. By choosing to laugh, you can control it and choose to stop it.
  • If the urge proves particularly difficult to beat, you may have to pull out the heavy ammunition, so to speak. Think about the feeling you would get if something very bad happened to a good friend or a loved one. This can be difficult, but it will stop almost any urge to laugh. As soon is the urge is gone, you can let the unpleasant thoughts go.
  • Don’t feel guilty for wanting to laugh. Human emotions are very complex. For example, some people even have the urge to laugh at funerals. This is not necessarily because they are mean, callous people. On the contrary, some people deal with loss and grief in unusual ways.
  • If everything fails and you simply must laugh, attempt to cover your mouth, turn away from others, or leave the area. If you slipped up, you can try to hide the chuckle by coughing. If your laughter is detected, simply apologize honestly. Explain that you know your laughter is inappropriate, you don’t understand why you are having trouble controlling it, and you do not mean to cause any offense. Tell them, “it’s not you, it’s me.”

Warnings

  • Laughing at other people (particularly strangers) can make them quite angry. If you feel the urge to laugh at someone who is trying to be serious with you, use any and all of the techniques above to avoid laughing. The pain you save may be your own (especially if you laugh at someone you don’t know well). Most people are able to deal with being laughed at, but some are very sensitive about it.