G. How Long?

What is the recommended duration for a laughter practice?

Nobody knows for sure.

From a medical standpoint, it is commonly recommended to engage in five minutes of laughter daily. This is just an opinion, however. Should you laugh non-stop for five minutes (when? how?), or is this how long you should laugh in total throughout the day (how often? how?) These questions are yet to be answered. As explained earlier, hundreds of laughter studies may have been done over the past three decades, but the only comparable aspect in all of them is the word “laughter.” There is no consistent definition of what that word means, what exactly was studied, how the laughter that was studied was evoked, nor how long a particular protocol lasted.
From a practical perspective, individuals who take into consideration but do not solely rely on the medical community’s opinion, generally agree that some amount of laughter is better than none, so do the best you can at your comfort level even if it’s just intentionally smiling for a few minutes every day.

How you plan to laugh also greatly impacts the answer.

Intentional laughter takes longer to yield benefits, but:

  • It’s easier
  • It’s reliable
  • It’s sustainable
  • It’s universal, accessible, and readily available
  • It’s a valid alternative

Laughter clubs typically meet online from 20 minutes to one hour, and 30 to 90 minutes when in-person.

Spontaneous laughter reigns supreme in its beneficial impact, but:

  • It’s, well, spontaneous, and that makes it random by definition. There is no guarantee it will happen every day.
  • It’s greatly tied to your mood state. The darker the mood, the more unlikely it is that something will make you laugh.
  • It’s always short-lived with each experience lasting only a few seconds, so you need a lot of individual experiences to add up to even just five minutes.
  • It’s time-consuming. What makes you laugh today won’t make you laugh as much tomorrow and most likely not at all next week, so you will both have a constant need for new material and time to find something funny for you in it.
Here is a simplification of how intentional and spontaneous laughter work:

How intentional and spontaneous laughter work

Try this: 14 minutes of non-stop intentional laughter (Credit: https://www.laughteryogaonthephone.com/)