In honor of April being National Humor Month, I'm sharing one of my favorite stories with you.

A guy in a bar says he has a talking dog. "Prove it," says one of the regulars.

Guy turns to the dog and asks him, "What's on the top of a house?"

Dog replies, "Roof, roof!"

"Oh, come on," says the regular.

Guy asks dog, "What's on the outside of a tree?"

Dog says, "Bark, bark!"

Regular says, "You must be kidding."

Guy asks dog, "Who is the greatest baseball player of all time?"

Dog replies, "Ruth, Ruth!"

Regular laughs and says, "Get outta here!"

Dog turns to regular and says, "What, you think it should be DiMaggio?"

For years, I opened every sales meeting with a funny story or a joke, and I asked other managers to do the same. I just wanted to loosen up the group and put them in a good mood.

Our employees know I love a good laugh. And I value a sense of humor when I am hiring people, especially for sales and customer service jobs.

Making work fun has taken on new importance, as workers return to offices after a couple of years of isolation. Laughter brings people together and strengthens relationships by triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connections. Laughter keeps relationships fresh and exciting, while creating a positive bond that can defuse conflict and buffer disagreements.

Laughter is cheap medicine. It distracts your attention, changes your attitude and outlook on life and causes relaxation and reduces tension, while increasing the body's natural painkillers. Every time we laugh, our stress level is lowered.

Humor seems to be on the decline, though. Recent events in the world may have taken some of the humor out of us. People feel the need to watch every word for fear of offending someone, and comedians are limited in what they can poke fun at, lest they get "canceled."

I suspect most folks don't set out to be insensitive to others. But we seem to have lost the capacity to laugh at ourselves.

I believe humor is the secret to reaching and persuading other people. I can't imagine a day without it.

Northwestern University conducted a study many years ago that demonstrated that the act of laughing massages the heart, stimulates blood circulation and helps the lungs breathe easier. Another test at Fordham University reinforced the conclusion that laughter benefits the heart, lungs, stomach and other organs.

I even saw one study that found that laughing for 10-15 minutes a day can burn up to 40 calories. It's no replacement for going to the gym, but it could be enough to lose a few pounds over the course of a year.

So look for ways to create opportunities to laugh. Watch a funny movie or TV show. There is a reason why some of the most popular TV shows in history are comedies like "The Simpsons," "The Office," "Friends," "Seinfeld," "The Big Bang Theory" and "Ted Lasso." Don't forget YouTube videos.

Read the comics or a humor book. There are hundreds of joke sites online.

Or spend time with children. Studies show that kids laugh about 200 times a day, whereas adults laugh only about 17 times.

And kids, after all, say the darnedest things.

Mackay's Moral: Always find a reason to laugh. It may not add years to your life, but it will surely add life to your years.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or email