Five ways to spark smiles this World Laughter Day

If you hear what sounds like a pack of wild hyenas this Sunday, don’t be alarmed.  May 1 has been designated World Laughter Day, so that roaring cacophony of giggles will most likely be human in origin.

In honour of this mirthful occasion, here are five fun ways to get your laugh on.

Laughter Yoga
The idea behind this popular concept is to laugh for the sake of laughing. And while you may feel silly or self-conscious at first, Toronto-based instructor Wendy Woods says you’ll be howling in no time.

“We do everything from throwing up our hands and laughing, greeting each other and laughing. We’ll grab pretend cell phones and laugh. It’s really just about getting the laughter going, and because it’s done in a group it’s really contagious.”

Check out your city’s laughter yoga directory and sign up early: World Laughter Day is basically their New Years, Christmas and Easter rolled into one, so spots will fill up fast.

Rent a few classics
There’s always a chance any comedy you check out in theatres will be less than stellar. To ensure the laughs, why not rent a bunch of tried and tested classics guaranteed to bring the howls? Cult favourites such as “Anchorman,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Animal House” make for foolproof viewing fare and somehow get funnier with each viewing. Be sure to invite some friends over, because laughter loves company.

Funny face
Your mother warned you that your face would stay that way, but you’ve (probably) made it to adulthood with your maxillofacial muscles intact. For a quick way to crack yourself up, stand in front of a mirror and start making the silliest, goofiest, most ridiculous expressions you can muster. No matter how much self-control you think you have, one look at your mouth twisted into a ridiculous pretzel will leave you snorting through your stretched-out nostrils. Bonus: when you’ve finished entertaining yourself, your mug will seem positively gorgeous in comparison.

Club life
Live in a big city? It’s likely there’s some terrific stand-up talent performing at a comedy club this weekend. Check local listings for upcoming shows. These folks live to make you laugh, so sit back, relax and let them do their job.

The write stuff
You may not consider yourself a comedic genius, but chances are you’re funnier than you think. Think of a dramatic situation in your life and see if you can mine it for laughs. Try writing it as though it were a comedy script, with yourself as the star and everyone else as your supporting cast. Use conventions like the sassy sidekick, the bumbling idiot and the comedic foil with zero self-awareness (you know very well who this person is), and you’ve got yourself a winning story. Even if you never show it to anyone, it may make a serious situation easier to cope with.