After being miserable for an entire month during my not wearing any makeup at all challenge, I felt I needed to do something easy and joyful to lift my spirits.
I decided to keep a 30-day laughter journal.
Debbie and Kirsty - ELLE's Executive Fashion Director - enjoy a good laugh!
After all, I'm doing these 30-day challenges for a year; I don't need to make every single one very difficult.
Every night for the last month, before going to sleep, I have been writing down something that had really made me laugh that day.
Sometimes I wrote multiple memories in great detail, other times just a single mirthful moment. In some cases, all you need to do is write down a few words to trigger a memory – enter 'Christmas onesies and a piñata', for example, or 'Fern in a box', which brings back the entire aftermath of the ELLE Christmas party…
Often, I haven't even been able to wait for the evening to come round - some moments, it turns out, merit immediate documentation.
And other times, I have found myself so busy detailing the laughter itself - the tears streaming down my cheeks and the bending double on the corner of a street - that I've completely lost sight of what it was that had set me off in the first place.
Regardless of the subject matter of each of the entries, what I have discovered is that the very act of keeping a journal of this nature makes me really happy. Every night I have been going to sleep with a smile on my face, thinking that I was lucky to have had so much joy in my life.
And even now, it's really nice to go back to it and read over each of the instalments. Some of my funny memories I can't repeat and for almost all of them, you really had to be there, but I have selected one that I'd like to share with you:
My fiancé(!) - yes, that happened on Christmas day - sisters and I were walking into town when all of a sudden the heavens opened… and I mean, proper torrential rain.
We had no umbrellas and I was the only one without a hood, wearing a seriously fluffy coat that later smelt like a wet dog. We got so soaked through that it became pointless to try and protect ourselves anymore, so without attempting to move even slightly under the trees, we merrily sang songs (we're an odd bunch) and carried on with our walk. Next thing we knew, a car sped by and doused my sister and I with a liberal spray of muddy puddly water.
We stopped dead in our tracks and stared at each other in soaked disbelief, mouths agape. And then burst out laughing. Really joyful laughter, like it was the best thing ever to be out singing in the rain, drenched from head to toe. I look back on that memory fondly.
For something relatively easy to accomplish, keeping a laughter journal has had such huge benefits. According to helpguide.org: "When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humour and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress."
And prologuing these effects by chronicling and reliving them seems like pretty sound logic to me.
Why not start your laughter journal today?
"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person." ― Audrey Hepburn
"The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter." ― Mark Twain
"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane." ― Robert Frost
Next 30-day challenge: Plan a wedding!