Learning To Have Fun—Again!

July 28, 2021

I’ve noticed a recent trend now that life is getting back to some semblance of normalcy, as the COVID pandemic is nearing an end. Some are struggling to integrate fun back into their routine. Most of us want to have more fun, it just seems like it is not as easy as it used to be. Yet, research shows we need to make the time for play and prioritize fun.

Since the term “fun” can be ambiguous and is often used in different contexts, let us first look at the standard definition of the word. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines fun as amusement, especially lively or playful. Staying true to the definition, we generally connect the word fun to things that are entertaining and enjoyable to do. Fun is also sometimes used interchangeably with play.

Five reason we should have more fun.

1. Having more fun improves your relationships, in life and at work.

  • When we have fun with others, these experiences have a positive effect on building trust and developing communication. Having fun gives us an opportunity to connect and be creative and makes us more approachable and friendly.
  • Couples who are happy know how to have fun together which in turn enhances acts of humor and affection as well as improving conflict resolution skills.
  • Studies show that fun activities at work can also improve our relationships with co-workers. These strong bonds developed with our colleagues have been linked to improved performance and productivity.

2. Fun reduces stress

  • Engaging in enjoyable activities can be an especially powerful antidote to stress. Spontaneous laughter has a stress-buffering effect that helps us better cope with stress. Individuals who laugh less tend to have more negative emotions. In contrast, those who laugh more have fewer negative feelings even when stressful situations increased.
  • It appears that there is some truth to the adage, “laughter is the best medicine.”

3. Fun makes us smarter

  • One way to improve our memory and concentration is to have more fun. Partially, this has to do with the stress reduction that happens when we engage in something we enjoy. However, the benefits of fun activities seem to stretch further than that. Reading for fun improves our language skills, and more surprisingly our proficiency in math as well. It appears that fun activities that introduce us to new ideas and concepts foster self-directed learning.

4. Fun can make you more energetic and youthful

  • Stress is draining — it can suck the life out of us, making us tired and cranky. When we effectively reduce our stress levels, this can often provide us with a new boost of vitality. Having fun and playing have traditionally been connected with children and the early years of our development. However, many psychologists emphasize the importance of play as we get older.

5. Finding more fun in physical activity balances your hormone levels

  • It has been well-established that high-stress levels negatively influence our hormones and neurotransmitters, especially cortisol and noradrenalin. Stress also affects our endocrine, metabolic and immune functions. Hormones can have an amazing effect on our mood. Certain hormones, such as cortisol, insulin, testosterone and estrogen, can be particularly influential and cause havoc when we have an imbalance.
  • One way to naturally balance hormones is to engage in a pleasurable recreational activity. When it comes to exercise, find what fun means to you and bake it into your routine.

At Twelve Oaks Counseling I incorporate humor into the therapeutic process. Let’s get started today!