When life comes rushing in from all sides, it’s easy to let fun fall to the back burner – and that’s valid. But finding the time for a little unfocused joy is more important than you think.
Research shows that there’s more to fun than kicks and giggles: getting goofy provides a source of eustress, a form of positive, energizing stimulation that improves your relationships, reduces stress, and even makes you smarter. So it’s no surprise that psychologists and life coaches recommend backing off when your daily life is at a boiling point and taking a moment to smile, even if it seems counterintuitive. Rather than “work smarter, not harder,” think “laugh harder, live longer.”
Decide what fun means for you
First and foremost, take a minute to think about what will bring you the most true-to-you happiness.
To cultivate authenticity, says inspirational author and speaker Brené Brown, is to let go of what other people think – so even if you feel silly or embarrassed by your answer, be brave and go have fun your way, for your own sake. Jump on a trampoline? Sky dive? Dress up like a chicken and lead a parade down the street? It’s your call!
No matter what lights your fire, the importance of fun for your health and well-being can’t be overstated, so let’s get started. Here are 8 easy ways to have a good laugh and incorporate play back into your day:
1. Break out of an escape room
Escape rooms are popping up all over the country, and with good reason. These timed, faux-stakes puzzle challenges are great for testing your smarts, bonding with friends and coworkers, and providing heart-pumping thrills, all while keeping an eye focused on the real prize: having fun.
Check out a local escape room, and even take it the next level by hosting your own pop-up escape game at home! Ready-made escape room kits bring the mystery and excitement straight to your living room – all you need to provide are the laughs and the snacks.
6. Make a mess
If you don’t have a 7-year-old in your life, you may have missed out on the super squishy smash trend of slime! Time warp back to your Nickelodeon days with homemade, customizable slime – crunchy slime, sparkle slime, magnetic slime and more. For added bonus, some therapists believe that the tactile sensation of handling slime can provide relief from anxiety and stress – so get mixing! The Slime Box provides a variety of pre-made slimes and goodies each month, and you can make your own here.
7. Get physical
Physical activity is about more than elevating your heart rate and burning calories. Experts have long purported the endorphin-releasing benefits of exercise, meaning that getting moving is key to fighting off stress and depression.
Research shows that the more we love physical activity, the more likely we are to do it – so despite your best intentions, making yourself miserable on the treadmill might be more damaging than helpful to your well-being. Instead, grab your best friend and hit up a feel-good hip-hop or yoga class! If time is an issue, let the yoga come to you with an easy subscription like Do a Shot of Yoga, which provides yoga resources, supplies and inspiration. Turn that frown upside-downward dog, and smile your way back to a full heart.