Are We Having Fun Yet?
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. ~ Dale Carnegie
The funniest thing happened to me last week. For several days I’d been struggling to figure out how to get beyond a stumbling block on a project and finally “got it.” Out of the blue, this clear as a bell thought popped into my head “This is SO much fun!” But the real magic was the momentary feeling of absolute joy that accompanied that little epiphany.
Of course your idea of fun may differ greatly from mine, and we’ll explore that in a moment. But the point is that my moment of joy was a natural reaction to doing something that I found to be fun – learning something new and solving a puzzling challenge.
Why having fun matters.
Fun activities are not only proven stress relievers, they provide a source of eustress, the “good” kind of stress that keeps you feeling vital and alive. It’s the sense of exhilaration you get from riding a roller coaster, or meeting an exciting challenge in your life. We thrive when we have regular eustress in our lives, and fun activities can provide that.
For kids, having fun is not only natural it’s a priority, but as grown-ups we are less inclined to indulge in what we tend to view as frivolous activities. Of course, we have the power to change and regain our sense of playfulness, should we choose to.
As I see it, the two greatest barriers to having more fun in life are 1) not taking the time to understand what fun feels and looks like to us (as opposed to the other guy) and 2) not giving ourselves permission to lighten up.
What does fun mean to you?
Adult life is so full of responsible roles, looking after others and the noise of everyday living, that we can become disconnected to what fun actually feels like and what it really means to us. And therein lies the challenge, because how can you become intentional about having more fun in your life, if you don’t know what fun feels like, or what activities are most likely to create that feeling?
I could provide you with a list of what I consider fun activities, but it wouldn’t mean much – just because something is fun for someone else doesn’t mean it will be fun for you. For example, for me fun is a spontaneous road trip, getting off the grid and exploring a new place, curling up with a new mystery/thriller and a good glass of wine, hiking with my dog, and accomplishing pretty much anything that someone told me I’d never be able to do. These things may be boring as dirt to you, but that’s okay, they work for me.
Interestingly enough, once we become aware of our “fun” triggers, we often find a central theme. You may find that the activities that are the most fun for you typically have to do with sports and competition, spending quality time with your family, or exercising your creativity. For me, fun is almost always about personal freedom.
Today was good, today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. ~Dr.Seuss
Self awareness is the key to understanding how to have more fun in your life. It’s about becoming aware of the activities that spark feelings of joy and happiness – you know the feeling where you are totally in the moment, and just for that time you don’t have a care in the world?!
Give yourself permission to lighten up!
- Be a little more selfish: Making time for activities that you enjoy and taking care of your own needs on a regular basis can be a little daunting at first, but the result of this awareness is that you learn what drives you, what excites you, and what motivates you. It can also have a dramatically positive effect on your health, overall happiness and relationships.
- Stop living by the rules: Some rules make sense and are good for us, however living a life based on others’ rules, needs, and expectations can stifle your self-expression and creativity, not to mention your potential.
- Scare yourself once in awhile: Where would a discussion on personal growth be without our old nemesis the comfort zone? When we allow ourselves to stay comfy and cozy within our self-imposed boundaries, doing the same things day-in-and-day-out, we miss out on people and experiences that can enrich our lives.
- Resign as general manager of the Universe: While it is admirable to take pride in being responsible and socially conscious, focusing all your energy on solving other peoples problems or ruminating about how bad things are in the world rarely solves anything. Learn to empower others by letting them solve their own problems. If you want to make a difference in the world vote every chance you get, volunteer in your community and donate a portion of your earnings to worthy causes. Then focus on what’s good about yourself and your life and work on bringing a little more joy and happiness into the world around you.
- Stop thinking fun has anything to do with your age: Contrary to what some believe, the ability to have fun does not diminish with age. On the contrary, having fun is about attitude and the ability to take pleasure in the simplest of things. One of my best friends is a remarkable woman of 78 who has the energy and drive of someone thirty years younger. My late grandmother was 105 when she passed away and right up to the end she loved debating politics, watching roller derby and telling a good joke.
So, are you having fun?
If the answer is yes, great, please let us know your secrets! If your answer is no, maybe you have just lost touch with what the term fun actually means to you. The next step is to give yourself permission to lighten up and intentionally add a little more fun to your life.
I hope you’ll consider contributing to the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends! In fact I’d love to connect with YOU! To follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., just click here.
I also hope you will consider joining the IGG Community! It only takes a couple of minutes to sign up, and then each new article will be conveniently delivered to your email inbox … and of course you’ll also receive your free copy of my NEW Welcome Gift for Subscribers – Believe in Yourself!
To learn more – press here.