Busy? Find time for fun.
Childhood is supposed to be about play, right? Our full lives can feel so busy that we sometimes don’t allow time for the fun stuff. Its no mistake that health and happiness are often linked. We are healthier when we are happy!
Studies show that:
- Laughing decreases pain, may help your heart and lungs, promotes muscle relaxation and can reduce anxiety.
- Positive emotions can decrease stress hormones and build emotional strength.
- Leisure activities offer a distraction from problems, a sense of competence and many other benefits.
- Try laughing at dumb things that happen every day. Minor mistakes make for comic relief. Even Shakespeare knows that.
- Sign up for a joke a day by email or following a funny blogger or columnist.
- Practice telling jokes or nailing imitations of famous people.
- Keep a list of your favorite funny stories to share.
- Share hilarious YouTube videos with friends.
- Turn an annoyance into a laugh. A crabby friend might come round if you point how the humor in the situation.
- Jump into activities that make you giggle and giddy. From sledding to tickling. Make ’em laugh!
Unstructured time is when adventures often happen. Make sure to include a little bit of space in your day and use it to connect with others in a playful way. When you play you boost energy, broaden your perspective, and allow for creativity and fun. Try running through a sprinkler, climbing on the monkey bars, smearing some finger paints on a big piece of paper, baking cookies, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, writing a poem. Try dancing with abandon to a great new song.
Play with friends as often as you can. Good relationships are key to our happiness. It doesn’t get much better than sharing fun times with people you care about.
If something inspires you, run with it! You might find yourself suddenly in a situation that you never expected. Great things can come of that, like meeting someone new you really like, or learning a new talent. At worst you have a great memory, at best…the world is your oyster!
Once in while, treat yourself to something that makes you really happy. If its a hot chocolate with whipped cream, or a stuffed animal or a bubble bath. You deserve some pampering. Yes, even guys do!
The adage of “wake up and smell the roses” reminds us that we can pass by true happiness every day without noticing. We don’t always need new activities to get more pleasure if we learn to soak up the joy in the ones we’ve already got. Often, our daily schedule and the expectations of others may block our ability to savor. Start by really relishing a meal. Feel the textures, taste the flavors, enjoy the aromas. Remind yourself to be conscious of interesting experiences throughout the day, like how your shower feels on your skin or how the sun feels on your face.
Go with the Flow
An easy going attitude is one of lightness and flexibility. A balance between the directed-ness of self-advocacy and the looseness of fatalism allows you to take things as they come and sort them out as needed. You’ll learn to float over road bumps and still end up on the other side.
Let it out. When you’re feeling good, throw your whole self into it. Go ahead, jump up and down, clap your hands. Research shows that if you act out a certain emotion, you can fire up that feeling.