Being able to laugh at yourself is an extremely valuable skill to have — yet too many people never take the time to develop it. Why is it so important? Because we all embarrass ourselves from time to time.

It’s inevitable — we’re human.

But it’s not the mistakes that we make in life that define us — it’s how we respond to those mistakes that matter. When we respond with laughter, it helps us stay focused on the positive and not take our mistakes too seriously, which actually helps us recover from those mistakes faster.

So today, I want to explain why learning how to laugh at yourself is the secret to a happy and fulfilling life.

Laughing at Yourself Boosts Your Credibility

Let’s say you made an embarrassing mistake at work. Maybe you flubbed a presentation or said something really thoughtless in a meeting. There are all sorts of ways you could respond to this.

You could pretend it never happened, even though everyone obviously knows it did. You could torture yourself and agonize over it, and be afraid to show your face around the office for the next few days. You could refuse to admit it or even blame someone else for it.

But none of those responses are going to give you very good results, are they?

On the other hand, if you own up fully to your mistake and show that you are able to find the humor in the situation, you will find more people admiring you for your candor and laughing WITH you instead of AT you.

This is something that not all people know how to do, but it is something that you really need to learn how to do. It is important to be able to laugh at yourself and there is some power in laughter.

Laughing at Yourself Improves Your Health

You know, there is a reason why people say laughter is the best medicine. That’s because it has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and alleviate anger, shame, bitterness or any other negative emotions you may be feeling.

It also releases endorphins into your system, which reduce your stress, put you in a more positive mindset and make you feel better inside and out. Because as you probably know, it’s almost impossible to feel bad when you’re laughing.

Laughter goes beyond simply making you feel good and relieving stress. Studies show that it actually boosts your immune system! Because when you’re stressed, your body releases chemicals that weaken your immune system.

Laughter dramatically reduces stress so you don’t release those chemicals and are able to stay more physically and mentally resilient.

Not only that — it also lowers blood pressure and helps to improve blood flow, which makes laughing really good for your heart. And it increases your oxygen intake — so it releases endorphins and gives you an energy boost.

It even helps to burn calories and work your ab muscles a bit! It might not give you a six-pack, but it will certainly help you feel more alert and alive. That’s the power of laughter.

Mistakes Happen, Laughter Helps

But there are still a lot of people who have a really hard time laughing at themselves. Maybe they’re afraid to. Maybe it’s difficult for them to admit weakness or allow themselves to be seen as vulnerable in any way.

But when you take yourself too seriously or don’t allow yourself to see the humor in a situation, you close yourself off from the opportunity to be more open and transparent and bond with people on a deeper level.

And that makes life less fun for you and for those who spend time with you.

The thing is, no one is perfect. We will all mess up from time to time. You have a choice when you mess up. You can either spend your time beating yourself up for a mistake you made or you can learn to live with the mistake and possibly even laugh at yourself about it.

If you choose the latter, your life will be more enjoyable and you will have a lot less stress — AND be healthier and happier as a result.

On top of all that, laughing makes your mind stronger, too. It increases your ability to learn and retain what you learn.

For example, research shows that if someone is trying to get you to learn something and in the process, they tell a joke or a funny story, you are more likely to remember what they are trying to teach you.

Laughter Builds Bonds With Others

Finally, laughter is a powerful tool for cultivating a stronger sense of community and connection.

Have you ever been in a room where people are so uncomfortable with each other you could cut the tension with a knife? It happens to us all at some point. One of the best ways to defuse a situation like that and turn things around is with laughter.

It’s especially powerful when you are able to laugh at yourself in this kind of situation, because not only do you cut the tension, you show everyone else that maybe they don’t have to take themselves so seriously either.

And everyone is able to show up more fully as their authentic selves, and forge stronger, more meaningful relationships with each other as a result. And that’s exactly what the world needs more of these days, wouldn’t you agree?

Learn to Laugh at Yourself

Do you think that you could learn to laugh at yourself more, and not take yourself so seriously? What kind of impact would that have on your life?

The next time you make a mistake or feel stressed, try to laugh at yourself, then move straight on to solving the problem. And when you need to relieve tension or create a bond with someone, tell a joke, recount a funny story or try to make light of the situation.

To discover more about how to overcome negative thoughts and feelings, download my free Positive Thinking Guide. You’ll uncover tips to help you stay happy, inspired, uplifted and on a direct path to reaching your goals and dreams.

Remember, nothing in your life will change for the better until you do.

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at and sign up for his free resources today!

Image courtesy of Elle Hughes.