Sometimes in life, things are so bad, it’s comical.
One summer we headed out to Colorado and on a beautiful afternoon decided to go for a horseback ride. 45 minutes in and everything was perfect. Out of nowhere clouds started to roll in. Then came the drizzle. Before long it turned into a full-on downpour.
We had no rain gear, so it got pretty uncomfortable, but it seemed like it would pass. It didn’t. The next thing we know thunder rolls in. At this point, sitting on the back of a horse, while on a mountain sure didn’t feel like a good place to be. Right when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the hail started.
Now we were cold, wet and a little scared. After about 10 minutes of this torture, it all stopped, and the sun was back. We returned to the trail and only had one thing left to do – laugh.
The combination of events were so bad, it was comical. That little bit of laughter helped us all cope with a terrible situation.
Speaking of laughter, do you want to hear a joke about paper? Never-mind it’s tearable.
The horseback ride was a great reminder not to take life too seriously.
Stuff happens. Sometimes it embarrassing and that’s OK. It’s better to laugh about it since no amount of energy is going to change what happened.
Like the time I was checking out a new indoor soccer field. No one had used it yet, so the glass was crystal clear. It also went all the way to the floor. Most indoor field walls have a wooden base with glass on top.
After walking around the field a bit, I turned to leave. My exit came to an abrupt end as I walked right into the glass wall. I bounced off the glass and started looking around to see if anyone saw my blunder. My quick count put the number at 10-15 people. Ugh.
Nobody was laughing, which was nice, and then someone chimed in and said: “don’t worry, we’ve all done it.” All I could do was laugh. After all, it was pretty funny.
Speaking of funny, what’s brown and sticky? A stick.
Beyond tough or embarrassing situations, humor has other uses. People that make us laugh are more likable. From my experience, it seems impossible to not like someone that makes me happy.
But, it goes beyond liking someone. People that make us laugh are like magnets. They draw us in, and we want to spend time with them.
Now think about the opposite. Imagine someone that takes life too seriously. A person that doesn’t laugh or can’t see the humor in things. These people are draining. I don’t want to be that person nor do I want to spend time with them.
Science has even stepped in and looked at the power of laughter. One finding was that when two people can laugh about the same things, it increases our sense of connection. The mind sends a signal that we are like one another when we laugh about the same things. That similarity becomes an essential part of relationships.
People often say laughter is the ‘best’ medicine. According to research, it can help quite a bit. Science has shown that laughter reduces anxiety, stress and can improve our mood. But this is only the beginning.
Laughing also releases endorphins. Think of these as our body’s natural painkiller, they flow through our body and make us feel good all over.
Doctors have also found that our outlook on life matters. People with a positive view of life can fight diseases better than those with a negative one. 
Life is just better with laughter. I’ve had countless times that weren’t positive, happy or fun. But a little laughter has the power to change the situation immediately. I haven’t found anything else that is this powerful.
By the way, did you hear about the kidnapping at school? It’s okay; he woke up.
This post is part of a series of letters to my kids. My goal is to reflect on and capture as many life lessons as possible. Here is the current list I am working from.