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I don’t play with Barbies and I don’t have an Easy Bake Oven anymore, but I still consider myself a kid at heart. I find life more humorous now than I did when I was 10 years old. My life has had its fair share of pain, disappointment and trauma. I had to grow up fast, but that did not douse my joie de vivre. The French phrase means “keen or buoyant enjoyment of life.” I believe I inherited some of this attitude from my mother. She would watch Lady and the Tramp with a smile or savor a bowl of butter pecan ice cream with unfettered joy.

Have you ever watched a child playing with something as inane as a plastic toy, a set of keys or a puppy? The happiness is totally unbridled and the giddiness is almost palpable. But somewhere between all of life’s twists and turns, we lose our enthusiasm for life. If we are here for an unknowable amount of time, shouldn’t we try to deal with the ups and downs with a smile rather than a grimace? I know some people who are so torn up inside people flea from their presence. They bring a dark cloud with them wherever they go and rain on everybody’s day. Their joyless souls suck the life out a room. Does this sound like you? There is hope. Begin to take steps to change your trajectory. Here are some tips that have helped me to stay lighthearted:

1. Locate Your Funny Bone

The other day I saw someone driving a minivan with a Winnie the Pooh Piglet doll hanging from the rear view mirror. It made me chuckle. Who thinks to do that? You could either think “That is so stupid” or “It’s so strange it’s funny.” It’s all in how you think about the situation. If you need a jump-start to release your inner funny, watch a comedy with a friend, go see a comedian, watch silly clips on YouTube. As the Bible says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” — Proverbs 17:22

2. Find Your Sense of Wonder

There is still so much beauty in the world. Take a moment to watch a sunset, take a nature walk, visit an aquarium and pay attention to creation. It’s so alive and has its own majesty. Just pay attention to your surroundings and experience your mind re-calibrating.

3. Count All Your Blessings — Big and Small

It sounds pretty easy and maybe corny, but it truly can be a mood-booster. Make a conscious effort to remember the ways you are blessed. From being able to read this post to having food in your refrigerator. If you receive extra money from a friend or graduate from school, don’t rush past that moment. Take a moment and realize you are blessed. Jot down 5 things you are grateful for each night and watch your thankfulness increase.

4. Filter Out the Negative

From your own thoughts to people in your life, it may be time to do some early spring cleaning. Take out the “stinkin’ thinkin'” and replace it with positive affirmations. And that’s not an overnight action — it’s a process. You will have to redirect your thoughts often and it will allow you to see how poisonously you have been thinking. And finally, some folks don’t need to take space in your life. If you have people in your life who are always negative, angry, selfish or just flat out not supportive, you are more than likely dealing with a toxic person and consequently you are in a toxic relationship. It’s best to cut ties now if you are really trying to improve your quality of life.

So I will leave you with a clip that will start you on your way with a laugh or two and hopefully a brighter perspective:

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