It’s important to learn to laugh at ourselves and at the world around us, if for no other reason than it keeps us from becoming homicidal. I mean, let’s be honest, as a whole, the world can be an unpredictable, chaotic, and downright disheartening place at times. Between the economy and the housing market going down faster than the Titanic and the constant media barrage of only the most horrific and depressing stories, it’s hard not to let it get you down.

I know what it’s like to think too much, to feel too much, to overanalyze things and let the weight of the world drag me down. Hell, I’m a writer. That’s what we do best. And sadly, I went through quite a lengthy period in my late adolescence and early adulthood when I had dug myself such a deep pit of despair and self-loathing that it’s a wonder I was able to eventually climb out of it at all. Looking back, I realize I wasted way too much time being miserable. But, you know what they say about hindsight.

These days, I don’t let much of anything bother me for long. In fact, I’ve developed what I like to call my Five Minute Rule for dealing with life’s little unpleasantries, and I have to say, it works pretty darn well. In a nutshell, my Five Minute Rule states that when something happens that gets you down or makes you mad or otherwise throws your world upside down, you have five whole minutes to complain about it. Bitch, moan, cry, scream, holler, toss things across the room, clench your teeth, pound your fists on the countertop, do whatever you do when you are overcome with anger or grief or rage or sadness. Don’t hold back. Get it all out. But, when the five minutes are up, it’s time to take a deep breath, compose yourself, move on and figure out what you’re going to do to fix the problem. That’s it. End of story. No pity parties. No wallowing. Five minutes is all it takes. Anything longer and you’re just wasting a whole lot of time and energy feeling sorry for yourself.

The best way to move on is just to have a good laugh. They don’t call it “the best medicine” for nothing. Laughter is a proven remedy to a lot of things that ail you, and if you can make a habit of laughing, and surrounding yourself with people to share your laughter with, you’re not only helping yourself, you’re helping to heal the world.

My daughter is not yet 18-months, but she’s already got this all figured out. Hell, I’d bet money on the fact that we humans are born into this world understanding that the secret of life is laughter. I don’t believe it’s just coincidence that laughter is one of the first sounds that most children make. Children laugh uncontrollably, without hesitation and often without reason. They laugh for the sheer fact that laughing makes them feel good. There is a lot that we brooding adults can learn from our children, if we just take the time to pay attention.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to finding ways to spread a little joy and laughter. So, how about you? Have you had a good laugh today?

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