When was the last time you laughed so hard that you cried? Chances are it's been awhile. Adults spend the majority of their time stressing about how to solve their problems, taking care of others and just trying to balance it all by staying one step ahead, which leaves little time for play. But studies show that learning to lighten up can actually help you live longer.

I know how hard life can get. I’ve battled eating disorders, drug addictions, layoffs and depression. I have experienced first hand life and its powerful curve balls. But learning how to lighten up and laugh through the difficult times was one of the most helpful things for my tough transitions.

Think about a child, and their sense of wonder and amazement with every new moment. They live in the present moment and trust that they are always taken care of. This is one of the reasons adults enjoy being around them so much.

For a child the world is one big playground and excitement revels itself in every moment. But something happened along the way, we grew up and became serious adults who forgot how to smile. However, it pays to be more “child like,” because learning to reconnect with your inner child can help you fall in love with your life.

Imagine if we adopted this belief as adults and how much our lives could transform. If you are feeling stuck in life, or looking for a solution to a sticky problem consider tapping into the mini you.

1. Enjoy the Ups and Downs. Life is full of ups and downs. Learning to appreciate the low points as much as the high times will help you feel more alive. Many of us mentally check out when things turn out different then planned. Divorce, layoff, even death, all of these life situations are heavy but very real aspects of life. Understanding that life is a wave of highs and lows and what goes up must come down will help you feel more in control in the unexpected situations.

2. Feel Your Feelings. Living in a depression, the passing of a loved one, losing your job or home, all of these life events can be traumatic. Listening to yourself and feeling your feelings will help you pull out of the funky zone faster. Allow yourself to feel hurt, sad, betrayed, and alone. But use those feelings to get you closer to what you really want. Give yourself time to feel but don’t let the feelings consume you. Many times people check out of life. They feel sadness coming on so they turn to other sources to soothe the pain; drugs, alcohol, sex, reality TV shows, addictions of any form can be detrimental to your happiness. Allow your feelings to work through you so you can release them and move on feeling more empowered.

3. Live in the Moment. Yesterday is over, and tomorrow will soon be yesterday’s news. Be in the moment to truly enjoy life. Most of us wander around consumed with worry about what we think should or shouldn’t have happened or we project the same concerns into the future. But this takes us out of the moment. Learning to deal with problems as they happen vs. worrying about them happening in the future will help you feel more balanced. Learn to take things in stride. Appreciate the moment for what it is.

4. Trust That You Are Taking Care Of. Have you ever not been able to make ends meet? Have you ever really been alone without help? Chances are if you are reading this message, you have a computer, and a warm place to call home. And even if you are living paycheck to paycheck and are not sure how you will make ends meet in the future, don’t they always get meet? Start to tell yourself that you have everything you need today. Humans are very adaptable and reliable. When push comes to shove we always find a way to make things work out. Just as a child or pet knows that they are safe, we are protected as well. A child does not worry about where or how their next meal will happen; they just know and trust that it will be there when they need it. Trust that you are taking care of and things always work out. When you do this you will be able to relax into the natural rhyme of life.

5. Laugh & Play. Lighten up. Smile when things are tough. If the IRS is auditing you, going through a divorce, just lost your job, whatever is consuming you in this moment, learn to let it go, and just smile.  Know that your future-self is rooting for you and sees you getting through this tough time with grace and ease. Remember that learning to laugh at difficult situations will help you feel more peaceful. Things don’t need to be serious all the time, so the person cut you off on the freeway, the barista messed up your order, your boss just passed you up for the promotion, whatever is plaguing you just let it be. Smile and trust that everything is in right order. Play with the world and appreciate all of its wonder.