by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.

What a way to start the day!

I was dreaming one of the most absurd dreams I’ve ever dreamed. Suddenly, I began snickering. Then, I began giggling at the fact that I was snickering — in my sleep.

My giggles were soon followed by my husband’s chuckles. And when he finally asked me what was so funny, my giggles turned into belly laughs. My husband and I hee-hawed until the bed shook with our amusement.

I was reminded of the famous phrase, “Laugh and the world laughs with you.” My husband certainly could not help but laugh with me even though he had no idea why I was laughing.

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout my day. Every so often, I would recall my laughter-filled morning and I’d start laughing again. I must say that it was one of the most pleasant and delightful days I’ve had in a long time. I found humor in everything.

I don’t think anything feels better than a good burst of laughter.

It occurs to me now that perhaps this is a good way to approach many things in life.

I’ve read about the health benefits of humor and laughter. Besides the list of physical benefits frequently given, studies have concluded that the ability to find humor in our life experiences — even in extremes — can help us look at our problems in a fresh way. Plus, seeing the humor in some of our most difficult scenarios can help to normalize our experience, particularly by keeping things from appearing too overwhelming.

Think about some of the everyday life situations often portrayed in comedy sitcoms. It’s usually when everything goes wrong time and again when we laugh the most. Are we able to laugh at ourselves on those days when everything seems to go wrong? Maybe we should.

It could be that our ability to find the humor in our lives is a powerful aid to finding solutions, making progress, and ultimately overcoming whatever it is that would bring us down or hold us back.

At the very least, we might be happier and more energized as we go about our day.

I had a childhood friend who never failed to see the humor in everything. In fact, my mom sometimes denied my requests to have this friend sleep over because she laughed so much. My mom said she could hear us laughing all night and consequently didn’t get much sleep.

And my mom was right about one thing. My friend laughed all the time and she made me laugh, too. She taught me lessons about finding humor in things that I’ve never forgotten.

I can honestly say she was the happiest person I’ve ever known. I wanted to be like her and I still do.

I think the ability to laugh at ourselves keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously and helps keep our egos in check. Perhaps if more politicians could laugh more at themselves, they would be able to get along better and make more beneficial decisions for the rest of us.

There have been many times when I’ve gotten angry at my husband. After my outburst — when we’ve stood there looking at each other in a stand-off of wills — we’ve often begun laughing. I sincerely think one of the times people look the most ridiculous is when they are angry.

The wonder and power of those moments, when anger was followed by laughter, is that whatever it was that prompted the anger in the first place, became a smaller issue than it at first seemed. And my husband and I could then make any adjustments actually needed that we both felt were fair and reasonable.

I can definitely say that waking up laughing is a better way to start the day than getting up on the wrong side of the bed. And even when I don’t wake up laughing, I plan to do my best to find the humor in everything each day. I just have a feeling that this approach will keep problems solvable and life happier and more satisfying.