Laughing is the furthest from our minds when things are not going good. We consume ourselves in sadness, tears and anger. Many of us wonder if we will ever catch a break from it all. But then we hear someone laugh or hear a joke that makes us laugh. Suddenly, we smile or chuckle. For that moment, we allowed the light to shine in on us.

Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. says, I couldn't agree more. I grew up hearing laughter during the best of times and the worst of times. Laughter is healthy. Laughter keeps us moving forward.

For example, during my grandfather's funeral last year, someone asked me why jokes were being shared and laughter echoed in the room. I explained that the same way we shed tears and prayed for Grandpa, he would want us to laugh as well. He used to laugh all the time no matter the situation. And his laughter wasn't because he didn't take what was happening seriously; it was because he felt laughter eased the stress and pain. He taught his children, grandkids, and great grandkids to always see the brighter side of things.

We learned to cry, scream, hurt and become angry. Why can't we learn to laugh? It is
OK to do so. Here are some ways to make that happen:

Call or visit your best friend

Turn to the person with whom you shared humorous moments with. Reminisce on funny times and let your laughter go. If your best friend is not available, sit in your living room or in your bedroom and remember all the funny things you have experienced throughout your life. Laugh as loud as you can. No one is watching.

Spend time with your children

It doesn't matter what age they are, they will make you laugh with something they say or something they do. Engage in fun conversations. Steer away from what is making you upset. Make jokes. Be playful.

Surround yourself with positive people

Ask your siblings or closest friends to join you for a comedy night out. Head out to the movies or to a comedy show. If the movie or show turns out lame, don't let that turn you off. Poke some innocent fun about the movie or show. Your friends or siblings will chime in.

Play with your pets

If you have dogs, you know how it feels to see them run toward you when you come home from work. The tail is wagging, they are licking you all over the face and they jump up and down out of excitement. Your friend has waited all day - or just a few minutes - for your return. And now that you are back, it's play time. That will definitely put a smile on your face.

Laughter does not undermine the distress you are experiencing. It lends a hand to deal with the tough times with a more positive outlook. Don't fear laughter. Embrace it.

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