How to Stop Laughing After Every Comment

How to Stop Laughing After Every Comment
Explore this Article
Diagnosing the Source of Your Laughter
Stopping a Nervous or Anxious Laugh
Avoiding Laughter by Staying Engaged
Questions & Answers
Tips and Warnings
Related Articles
References
Article Summary

Laughing whenever someone stops speaking is usually a sign of anxiety, but there are several other reasons that you may be laughing too often. You may laugh if you’re nervous, trying to break the tension, daydreaming, or struggling to focus. To stop laughing every time that someone speaks, start by figuring out the cause of the laughter by tracking how you feel when you do it. Then, use pinches, focused breathing, and physical distractions to stop anxious laughter. If you’re struggling to engage in conversations, practice mindful listening techniques by mirroring the speaker’s behavior and asking follow-up questions.

Method 1 of 3:
Diagnosing the Source of Your Laughter

Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 1
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 1
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1
Figure out if you’re anxious, nervous or scared when you laugh. People laugh after other people speak for a variety of reasons, and figuring out why you’re laughing will make it easier to stop. Every time that you notice you’re laughing a lot, ask yourself, “How do I feel right now?” If you’re nervous or afraid, the laughter is probably a subconscious defense mechanism against feelings of anxiety or nervousness. [1] X Research source The best way to avoid laughing when you’re anxious is to develop coping strategies to make social interactions more comfortable for you. There are plenty of preventive measures and physical tricks that you can use to calm your body.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 2
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 2
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2
Determine if you’re laughing because you aren’t actively listening. Many people laugh when they daydream, don’t know what to say, or find something inappropriate funny. When you find yourself laughing frequently in a conversation, take a moment to self-reflect. If you’re comfortable, relaxed, and don’t have any issue with the conversation itself, the odds are that you’re laughing to fill gaps in the conversation or because you aren’t actually engaged in the conversation. [2] X Research source If you’re laughing because you picture something funny when people talk, don’t know what to say, or find yourself daydreaming, work on your listening skills and focus on the conversation to avoid laughing.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 3
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 3
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3
Practice controlling your laughter in one-on-one conversations. It’s a lot harder to be comfortable, focus on listening, and control your impulses in large crowds or social settings. To get a better sense of why you’re laughing so frequently, stick with intimate and private conversations whenever you can. As you identify your triggers and determine what the issue is, you can work your way up to controlling your laughter at larger social gatherings. [3] X Research source It can be hard to focus on listening when there are a ton of distractions. Sticking with one-on-one conversations will help limit the amount of background noise so you can focus on the interaction.

Tip: This is particularly important if your laughter is the result of anxiety or fear. Large crowds and public speaking tend to exacerbate negative feelings when it comes to nerves.

Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 4
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 4
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4
Consult a doctor if you’re laughing uncontrollably for no reason. If you really can’t stop yourself from laughing and can’t figure out why you’re doing it, consult a doctor. You may have something called an involuntary emotional expression disorder (IEED), which can be treated with medication and therapy. Symptoms of IEED include excessive crying, irritability, mood swings, and a lack of restraint. [4] X Research source Seeing a psychiatrist and engaging in talk therapy can help you cope with the symptoms of IEED. In extreme cases, doctors may prescribe antidepressants to calm your emotional responses and manage the symptoms of the disorder.
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Method 2 of 3:
Stopping a Nervous or Anxious Laugh

Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 5
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 5
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1
Slow your breathing down as soon as you start laughing. If you feel an inappropriate laugh coming on, focus on your breathing. Close your lips and slowly inhale for 2-3 seconds through your nose. Then, exhale slowly through your lips as you purse them together. Continue this process until you’re inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds. Controlling your breathing will make it difficult to laugh while giving your body something else to focus on. [5] X Research source If you don’t want people to notice that you’re doing this, bend down and act like you’re tying your shoe or turn away and act like you’re responding to a text message.

Tip: This is the most efficient way to prevent anxious laughing. As you slow your breathing, your heart rate will naturally decrease and you’ll find it easier to calm down. Actively pursing your lips will also make it hard for you to make the facial expression required to laugh.

Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 6
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 6
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2
Pinch yourself to redirect your impulse to break out in laughter. On an inconspicuous section of your arm or leg, pinch your skin right before you feel like you’re going to laugh. Pinch hard enough to feel it, but not so hard that you cause yourself extreme pain. This physical sensation will redirect your impulse to laugh, and you’ll find it easier to stay quiet. [6] X Research source Pinching yourself is a great way to avoid laughing at inappropriate or serious comments that don’t merit laughter. Instead of pinching yourself, you can bite your lip or curl your toes before leaning forward on them.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 7
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 7
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3
Tuck your thumb in your fist and squeeze to distract yourself. If you think you may laugh in the upcoming conversation, take your thumb and tuck it into your palm. Then, wrap your other 4 fingers around your thumb to make a fist. Squeeze firmly to distract your body and stop a laugh from happening. [7] X Research source You can do this on either of your hands—it won’t make much of a difference. You can also do this on both hands if you prefer. This is a trick used to stop the gagging impulse if you feel like you might throw up. Activating your arm muscles tenses your chest at the same time, making it harder for your body to contract as you laugh or gag. This makes it a great way to prevent anxious laughter.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 8
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 8
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4
Look away and focus on something else to avoid eye contact. If you find yourself laughing frequently during an interaction, take a few seconds to stare off into the distance behind the speaker. Find a tree, bird, or building to inspect and look at it for 10-15 seconds. Focus on the object that you’re looking at instead of the speaker until you feel yourself relaxing and zoning out. Then, reenter the conversation after you’ve reset your focus and mood. [8] X Research source This is a great choice if you’re in a social setting where other people are talking in front of you. It won’t do much help if you’re engaged in a private conversation though, since you’ll be expected to respond at some point and have to maintain focus.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 9
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 9
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5
Fidget with an object to redirect your anxiety elsewhere. When you’re in an uncomfortable social setting, play with a pen, coin, or scrap of paper to naturally calm yourself. Twirl the item around in your fingers and rub it repeatedly to keep your senses activated. This will give your body a simple action to focus on while you passively listen to someone else, making it harder to break out in laughter every time that someone stops speaking. [9] X Research source This is not necessarily the best choice if you’re in a professional setting where you aren’t supposed to be fidgeting. You can also tap your fingers on something if you don’t have a random item in your pocket.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 10
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 10
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6
Think of something boring to distract yourself from laughing. Another way to cut back on laughing after every comment is to distract your mind with something boring. You can do this by counting sheep, thinking about household chores, or reciting a random song in your head. Any topic will work so long as it doesn’t trigger laughter. [10] X Research source This is a great choice if you’re in a situation where you are only supposed to be listening, like if you’re watching a movie or attending a lecture.
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Method 3 of 3:
Avoiding Laughter by Staying Engaged

Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 11
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 11
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1
Use verbal hums or say “ok” to show people you’re listening. Some people passively laugh or chuckle as a form of nonverbal communication to indicate that they’re engaged in the conversation. If you think this is you, start incorporating a different sound or simple, “Ok” after people speak to replace the laughter. A basic, “Mmm” is an easy alternative that won’t require any actual speaking while still showing people that you’re engaged. [11] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Business Review Online and print journal covering topics related to business management practices Go to source Many of the people who do this laugh to show that they’re engaged because they’re subconsciously nervous about being excluded from a conversation. This tends to be a combination of anxiety and poor listening. Incorporate tricks from both methods if you have an issue with both types of laughter. If you want a nonverbal option, consciously nod a little after someone finishes talking.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 12
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 12
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2
Pretend that you’re trying to memorize what people say as they talk. Another way to stay engaged and avoid giggling while people speak is to try memorizing what people say. As someone starts to talk, repeat each word that they say in your head. Picture each individual word and pretend that you’re trying to memorize it to make a game out of it. The more focused you are on the words, the more likely you are to be engaged without the subconscious need for laughter. [12] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Business Review Online and print journal covering topics related to business management practices Go to source This is a great trick if you find yourself daydreaming while people talk. This can also help you avoid laughing at inappropriate or innocuous comments.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 13
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 13
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3
Mirror the tone and facial expressions of the person you’re talking to. Another way to stay engaged and avoid laughing is to mirror the speaker’s behavior. Subtly try to copy the speaker’s tone when replying and focus on their facial expressions to make them easy to duplicate. If they smile, smile back. If they scowl, do the same. Mirroring the speaker’s behavior will also make it easier to gauge when it’s appropriate to laugh. [13] X Research source

Warning: For some people, trying to duplicate the speaker’s tone and expression will actually make things worse if they’re naturally prone to giggling at silly stuff. If you find this extremely hard to do or don’t think it actually helps you cut back on laughing, stop trying to mirror the other person’s behavior.

Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 14
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 14
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4
Ask clarifying questions to meaningfully engage in the conversation. You can’t laugh after every comment if you have something to say. As someone is speaking, think of a follow-up question or engaging comment that you want to share. Formulate your comment or question in your head, and wait for the other person to stop speaking before sharing it. This will ensure that you remain engaged and don’t have time to laugh after someone stops speaking. [14] X Trustworthy Source Harvard Business Review Online and print journal covering topics related to business management practices Go to source For example, if someone is talking about their sick dog and they say, “The vet thinks that Fluffy will be okay, but I’m not sure,” ask, “What aren’t you sure about?” or say, “Well, I hope Fluffy is okay. He’s a good dog.” This way, you’re participating instead of observing the conversation.
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 15
Image titled Stop Laughing After Every Comment Step 15
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5
Take a break and leave for a few minutes if you need to relax. If you really feel the laughter building up and you’re struggling to focus, walk away. Say that you need to check your phone or write something down and leave the room for 3-5 minutes. Let any laughter out and control your breathing to reset your body before rejoining the conversation. [15] X Research source
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