I told a joke in the middle of giving my father’s eulogy. As I spoke about his loving spirit, amid my unrelenting grief, no commentary about his life would be complete without sharing his love of humor. Together, we cried and laughed and bonded over my father’s precious presence in our lives.

This morning, when I asked what to share as inspiration, Spirit encouraged me to talk about humor and laughter as healing medicine for the mind, body and soul. We all know that life can be hard. Dealing with trauma, illnesses and loss of loved ones can tax us deeply. But within the darkness, when we can laugh at ourselves, laugh with others and share laughter about the crazy universe in which we live, we feel the heaviness of our burdens broken upward, into light. Laughter is a healing salve that renews our perspective and strength, when we need it most.

Science now understands the value of humor as a medicinal tool. It appears the Divine created laughter and humor, knowing we would benefit from it within a world of duality. So how do we cultivate this remarkable soul medicine as an important tool within our spiritual tool-kit of loving self-care?

Create a Laughter Ritual

One of my nightly rituals is to watch comedy shows that make me laugh aloud. I watch specific programs that tickle my funny bone, for at least 30 minutes nightly, knowing that this is a meditation on joy. It expands my heart chakra and opens me to the cosmic humor of the divine play in which we live.

Engage in joyful company

Spend active time with people who have a good sense of humor, make you laugh and are truly enjoying life. Engage with people who see the humor in daily life and don’t take themselves too seriously. My father had an exceptional sense of humor and every night at dinner, he would make me laugh so hard by noticing the funny in the ordinary or sharing fun stories about his day. As I was taking my mom from her cancer appointment the other day, I made her laugh hard and she said: “You have your dad’s sense of humor”. High praise, to be sure. But more significantly, laughter has a way of allowing us to deal with difficult times, breaking down our fears and bonding us through joy. While we navigate this cancer together with love and faith in her healing; we lean into humor to ease our burdens and comfort our souls.

Ask to see life through Divine Eyes

There is plenty of sorrow to go around. But we too, can discover the humor in the oddest moments and places, when we open our heart and mind to a divine perspective. If I feel particularly stuck, I’ll ask for a Divine perspective and before I know it, I find myself laughing at myself even over the smallest of things.

Appreciate what is Here

There is a divine grace in gratitude. As we notice what is good in this moment, and focus on what we can fully appreciate; our heart expands, our mind shifts to what is working and our emotions experience the value in what is having positive impact upon us here and now. We can focus on the smallest of things by appreciating our breath, sight, mind, emotions, body, running water, the sky, color, air, prana, the Divine, angels, our loved ones, Spirit, sunshine, the stars, grass, flowers, earth, soil, mountains, oceans, deer, dogs, birds, clouds, ladybugs, butterflies, snowflakes, changing seasons, the laughter of children, raindrops, roses, kittens, puppies, horses, dragon flies, trees, art, music, beauty, laughter, joy, friendship, family, food, learning, books, spiritual connection, presence….When we appreciate what is; our heart and soul shift into alignment with the divine grace that exists here and now. This can also lead to a perception of joy and laughter.

Laugh Loudly into a Pillow

When my daughter was little and I wanted to nurture laughter and joy in her spirit, I would grab her pillow, press my face into it and laugh super loudly and forcefully until we both fell into giggling. Then, she would grab the pillow to see if she could make me laugh. Fake bold laughter led to real laughing — just for fun! Laughter uplifted our souls, bonded us in joy and cultivated a sense of appreciation that we had the power to create this connection deliberately.

Nurture Your Sense of Humor

We know that life can be hard. On any given day, I am sitting with people who are dealing with serious trauma from loss of loved ones, abuse, terminal or chronic illness, depression, PTSD and more. I too, am walking my mom through cancer. Tending to a sister who is battling a chronic illness. And navigating loss of loved ones in my own life. There are times when our unwavering full presence to this real suffering is an essential ingredient to healing. And there are moments, when humor can help us laugh at ourselves and introduce joy, lightness and a unique perspective in the most unexpected moments.

Laughter and joy do not minimize the seriousness of life’s challenges. Rather, they open us to experience joy even amid darkness. Laughter and joy are woven together through the golden threads of life’s tapestry. As we allow our laughter into our daily routine, we nurture our higher perspective, attract our Divine allies, open our heart to the natural medicine that soothes our soul through the cosmic dance we call life.