CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school/district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesSocial Belonging InterventionEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersSavoring StrategiesTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for School EmployeesPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesOther ResourcesPROSPER

Three Funny Things

Keywords: Elementary Education, High school, Middle School

This activity is based on the “Three Good Things” activity, but instead targets students’ sense of humor. This intervention exemplifies the well-known phrase “laughter is the best medicine.”  Instead of writing about three positive things that happened during the day, students write about three funny or amusing things that happened. After completing this activity, students will have a significant boost in happiness and cheerfulness, and may even smile more often (Gander et al., 2012). 

Intervention Guide:

Grade Level: All
Materials: Paper, pencil
Duration: 3-5 minutes daily, for one week. Repeat as needed. 

1.Decide what time of day you will set aside for the activity each day.  If you decide to do the activity at the beginning of the day, consider having students reflect on the previous day.

2. Introduce students to the idea of 3 funny things and provide examples perhaps by sharing your own 3 funny things

3.Provide students a few minutes to write down and reflect upon their list.

Does it work?

Building upon the idea of three good things, one group of researchers wanted to test the power of humor and see if the intervention would work just as well with funny things (Gander et al., 2012). Participants were asked to write down three funny things that happen each day and why they were funny, for one week. After completing the study, participants reported an immediate and stronger experience of positive emotion, marked by increased cheerfulness, laughter and smiling (Gander et al., 2012). A more recent study comparing both the three good things activity and the three funny things activity (with a control group) found that daily reflection on three funny things may be more effective at reducing depressive symptoms (Gander et al., 2020). Both activities were shown to both increase the intensity of positive emotions that the participants felt, but also increase the variety of positive emotions experienced. The three funny things intervention in particular was shown to increase feelings of amusement(Gander et al., 2020). It has also been found that the three funny things intervention may be more effective at increasing happiness among extroverted participants as compared to introverted participants(Wellenzohn et al., 2018). It is important to note that even if students do not have a naturally strong sense of humor, this activity can still benefit their wellbeing (Wellenzohn et al., 2018).


Gander, F., Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., & Wyss, T. (2012). Strength-based positive interventions: further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 1241–1259. 

Gander, F., Proyer, R.T.,Hentz, E. & Ruch,W. (2020). Working mechanisms in positive interventions: A study using daily assessment of positive emotions. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15(5), 633-638.

Wellenzohn, S., Proyer, R.T. & Ruch, W. (2018). Who benefits from humor-based positive psychology interventions? The moderating effects of personality traits and sense of humor. Frontiers in Psychology. 


CC BY-NC: This work is released under a CC BY-NC license, which means that you are free to do with it as you please as long as you (1) properly attribute it and (2) do not use it for commercial gain.

End-of-Chapter Survey

: How would you rate the overall quality of this chapter?
  1. Very Low Quality
  2. Low Quality
  3. Moderate Quality
  4. High Quality
  5. Very High Quality
Comments will be automatically submitted when you navigate away from the page.
Like this? Endorse it!