As long as we are still drawing a breath, we have the opportunity to keep learning life’s lessons, big and small. For myself, I have found that grasping some of the simple lessons are often the most rewarding. One of those is learning to laugh, and laugh in abundance.

Laughter is a precious gift. It dislodges anger in the way a summer rain washes the dust from the landscape. It fosters friendship and dilutes hostility. Medical science says laughter helps the healing process.

cowgirl-sass-dsc05551A willingness to laugh is the first step to the joy of laughter. Seeing humor in situations may take practice for some, for others it is an art. I laugh at myself as much as I laugh at anyone or anything. Sometimes I’m the only one who thinks I’m funny, but that too makes me laugh.

Knowing the difference between a mishap and a catastrophe is important, as is understanding that likely you can do nothing about either except pick up the pieces. Your choice is to laugh about it or grumble. Choose laughter.

Almost every situation benefits from the application of laughter. People take themselves way too seriously—looking for perfection, a way to be indispensable and in complete control. They set themselves up for a life of stress and failure. Self-appointed superintendents of the world work way too hard at jobs they will never complete.

I have friends who make me laugh. I laugh with them and at them, and in turn we all laugh at almost everything. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be and so if I keep friends who remember more or differently than I do, there is a never-ending series of topics to laugh at.

Success almost always happens in private and failure in full view. So laugh at it. Not one shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. If you smile when things go wrong, people will undoubtedly be assured you have someone in mind to blame.

Laughter is contagious. If people nearby aren’t laughing with you they are at least curious about what is making you laugh. They will want some of the same.

Euphoria is fleeting at best and needs fed continually to sustain beyond the moment. The skill is not in the emotion but in the ability to keep it going. You can always find sorrow in the world; finding joy sometimes takes effort. Make the effort.

It might even hurt a little the first time, but crack that smile wide open even if you have not yet found something to smile about. It won’t be a terminal pain. Surround yourself with people who find joy in life and like to laugh. You will learn to laugh by association. I can promise an addiction to the joy. You will want more of it.

Laughter is a gift to be shared. When you have learned to laugh, help someone else that needs to feel the fun. That quick laugh you share with someone today may be the spark of joy that turns his day around.

Plan to be spontaneous, even if you wait until tomorrow. Joy comes with no expiration date.

Julie, can be reached for comment at