Have you heard the statistic that kids laugh 300 times per day while adults laugh only 15-20 times? While the research is inconsistent on the exact numbers, the point is that adults simply take themselves too seriously.

I know I do — I have always had a more serious demeanor because I am competitive and perfectionistic. Fortunately, my husband is more of a class clown. He has encouraged me to relax and just laugh a little. My kids have been helpful, too. I find more opportunities to laugh because they are constantly smiling, laughing and saying really funny things.

My 3-year-old regularly asks me to unbuckle the car seat so he can drive. That makes me laugh. Recently, he told me he put a dead fly in the air vent at home. WHY? I rarely wear glasses, so one morning when he saw me in glasses, he told me I looked like an old grandpa. I lost it! For those of you who have seen me wearing glasses, please let me know if you think he’s right.

But laughter is not just fun, it’s healthy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the short-term benefits of laughter include stimulating organs, relieving your stress response and soothing tension. Over the long term, laughter can improve your immune system, relieve pain, increase personal satisfaction and improve your mood.

While we can think about laughing more when life is good, what about when life is hard? If you are in the middle of a difficult time, you may not feel like laughing. I have been researching grief recently since I have many clients who have lost family members, been through a divorce, experienced a job loss or gone through any number of difficult situations.

Here’s something interesting I learned about laughter in the midst of grief. Dr. Melissa Baartman Mork, a professor of psychology at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, encourages using good humor to help us grieve. When we speak about or remember a deceased loved one with laughter and smiles, it can be profoundly positive. Laughter and good humor related to remembrance predicts not only better adjustment, but also more positive responses from others (Bonanno & Keltner, 1997). Baartman Mork claims that reminiscing about her deceased husband’s jokes helps her laugh and brings him back to her.

The familiar adage "laughter is the best medicine" isn’t that far off. Because of this, I am working on laughing more. That might sound strange, but for someone like me, it requires intentionality! So I’m laughing with my husband, laughing with my kids and looking for things that make me laugh. I’m writing down every silly thing my 3-year-old says. So when a tough day comes along, I’ll be able to remember the time when I was helping my son use the potty and he said, "Mom, I will wipe your butt when you are a little boy."

Go ahead, just laugh a little.

Brittany Heard works with Foster Group clients to define and achieve their financial goals. She enjoys helping clients make small changes that benefit them long-term. Heard's opinions in this guest submission do not necessarily reflect those of her employer.