Here’s Why You Should Make a Habit of Having More Fun
When was the last time you flew too high on a swing and lost your stomach, or busted out laughing so hard that you started crying? If it’s been awhile since you’ve had this kind of fun, you’re not alone.
In The Fun Habit: How The Disciplined Pursuit of Joy And Wonder Can Change Your Life, published in January, psychologist Mike Rucker makes the case that pursuit of fun experiences may be even more valuable than seeking the sometimes abstract goal of happiness.
Here’s advice from Price and Rucker — and inspiration from NPR readers — for ways to build more fun into your life.
1. Stop worrying about how happy you are
People who highly value happiness may end up feeling “disappointed about how they feel, paradoxically decreasing their happiness the more they want it,” wrote the authors of a 2011 study in the journal Emotion.
In contrast, fun is relatively easy to achieve yet many adults are conditioned to believe that it isn’t important, and experience very little of it.
“Even if you’re not happy, you can have fun, even if that’s just having coffee with a friend,” he says.
Price, who also is the founder of ScreenLifeBalance.com, defines fun as a state in which we experience playfulness, connection to others, and flow – that feeling where you lose track of time because you’re “in the zone” and not worried about how you look or how well you perform.
2. Find your ‘fun magnets’
If you’re not sure where to start, Price recommends you ask yourself: What are my “fun magnets?”
Look for common threads, like which people are involved, what kinds of activities you enjoy, where do they take place. Are there activities that would be fun that you’d like to try? Are there activities you can get rid of that are not fun?
3. Put fun on the calendar
Once you identify what fun is to you, you can start to schedule more of it. “It’s like going on a diet by figuring out what kinds of foods you love, and then eating more,” says Price.
When you put something fun like a hike on the calendar, you open up to moments of “awe and wonder,” like the surprise appearance of a deer on the path, for example, Rucker says. These moments can improve mood and lower stress levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
4. Unplug (no, but seriously!)
Technology can be the enemy of fun. If you’re always connected to your phone, checking that one last email or text, you’re not present. Rucker says. “We need to “stop being ‘on’ all the time.”
When Rucker realized he was checking his phone often while watching his daughter take gymnastics class, he decided instead that they should take a dance class together. “Now we have amazing memories,” he says.
Real fun usually involves sensory experiences and, often, interactions with other people.
5. Share the fun and amplify it
Another tip Price swears by for more fun is sharing what brings you delight with someone else. Price now has running text chains with several friends who send her photos of upbeat moments throughout their day.
Like any new habit, fun takes practice, as well as trial and error. Experts say start small and build.
Excerpted from “Here’s why you should make a habit of having more fun” from NPR. Read the full article online.
Source: NPR | Here’s why you should make a habit of having more fun, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/02/04/1150518287/fun-play-happiness-stress-reduction | © 2023 npr
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