Home Health Why We All Need to Have More Fun

Why We All Need to Have More Fun

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Although the feeling of fun is universal, each of us finds it in different contexts. Try to identify three experiences from your life that you remember really having fun. Think of times when you laughed with other people and felt completely engrossed in the experience. What were you doing? Who were you with? What made the experience feel so good? Keep in mind that small moments count. Some examples that people have shared with me include running barefoot into the ocean with their child, or playing catch with an exuberant dog.

Your goal should be to identify the activities, settings and people that often generate fun for you. Something that’s fun for one person, whether it’s rock climbing, joining a book club or playing music, might sound wholly unpleasant to someone else. Once you’ve identified your personal fun “magnets,” you’ll be able to make wiser decisions about how to allocate your time.

It’s impossible to plan for fun, because fun is an emotional experience that can’t be forced. It is possible, however, to make fun more likely to occur, simply by prioritizing the people and activities that are the most likely to create it for you. Once you’ve identified what they are, carve out time for them. For instance, I know that I have a great time when I play music with a particular group of friends, so I make time for it.

It’s important to note that prioritizing fun during the pandemic can take extra work. To play music together safely last winter, my friends and I brought our instruments outside, along with hot drinks, hand warmers, heavy coats and blankets. We were cold, but the joy of having fun together lingered for days.

The pandemic can make it tough to engage in some of your favorite fun-generating activities, particularly those that require travel or being with large groups of people. Now you know to prioritize them when it is safely possible.

In the meantime, find ways to “microdose” on fun. If you’re home alone and feeling stumped, ask yourself whether there’s anything you’ve always said you wanted to do or learn but didn’t have time for. (That’s how I started playing guitar.) Try to create as much connection, playfulness and flow in your everyday life as possible, whether it’s by sharing a smile with a stranger, calling a colleague instead of emailing or doing something nice for a friend. Every time you do so, take note of how it affects your mood.

Prioritizing fun may feel difficult, but it’s worth it. Our lives, after all, are defined by what we choose to pay attention to. The more you pay attention to fun and the energy it produces, the better you’ll feel.

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