I was feeling rather horrible the other day. The pain in my hip was so bad I couldn’t even get out to walk the dog, it seemed there was nothing but scare-mongering and hatred in the news, and I just learned that Hilperton Herd was soon to be goat-less! I was feeling so bad that I started to laugh in that semi-hysterical way you do when it all gets a bit over-whelming. My stomach muscles contracted rhythmically, I started shaking, I made some of those weird snorty-noises and started slapping my thigh and anything, or anyone, else within reach! My hysterical laughter turned into genuine, heartfelt guffawing of the best kind. “But there’s nothing funny!” I screamed through the tears of joy coursing down my face – which made me laugh even harder.
There’s just something about laughing that makes you feel good for no good reason. You don’t have to start off with something funny to trigger it, just listening to someone else laughing can make it irresistible. Laughter is contagious, like yawning, only it makes you feel great. It boosts your immune system, reduces pain and stress, helps your heart stay healthy, burns calories and even tones your abs! What more could you ask? Oh yes, it helps improve short-term memory, aids learning and laughter has been found to reduce blood sugar spikes following a meal, lower inflammation and raise good cholesterol for people with diabetes. I felt so good I fairly frolicked round the fields with the dog afterwards!
So if you fancy banishing the blues and doing something to help you stay healthy, find your sense of fun, re-ignite your sense of the ridiculous and laugh your socks off. Laughter is the best medicine.