(and 5 Ways to Have More)
5 Reasons Why You Need Fun (and 5 Ways to Have More) was inspired by a Ted Talk given by Catherine Price, “Why Having Fun Is The Secret To A Healthier Life”. In it, she establishes a new definition of fun, provides reasons why fun is essential rather than optional, and suggests ways to add more genuine fun to your life. The talk is over 12 minutes long, so I’ll break it down for you here in case you don’t have time to watch it.
Why should you listen to what Catherine Price has to say about having fun? She’s an award-winning scientific journalist, so she might have a clue. I mean, the people at the Ted Conference thought she was worth listening to.
5 Reasons Why You Need Fun
According to Catherine Price, fun is not optional or frivolous. She says fun is essential. Here’s why:
1. Fun is Energizing
Have you ever had plans but felt so drained you didn’t want to go? You force yourself to show up because it has been too long since you saw your friends. Once you are there, something magic happens. You start to have fun, and doing so fills you up with energy. Before you know it, you stayed up way past your bedtime and had a little too much fun. Or is that just me?
2. Fun Makes Us Present
At some point in your life, you have been forced to sit through a class or work at a job that was so boring it made you want to run away screaming. If you haven’t you’re either weird or exceptionally fun. In a situation like this time drags on and on, am I right?
If you’re lucky, you’ve also experienced a class that was fun despite a “boring” subject or a project that was enjoyable despite being difficult. You were so absorbed in what was going on you lost track of time. When the bell rings or the work day ends, you’re shocked. How did time fly by like that? It’s simple: fun anchors us to the present.
3. Fun Brings Us Together
What do these pictures have in common?
The answer: people having fun, together. It can be possible to have fun by yourself, but even introverts have the most fun when having a positive connection to another human (or humans). So, whether you are a self-proclaimed extrovert or introvert, Catherine Price says you need to interact with other people, in person.
Not all group interactions are actually fun, so be sure to connect with people that are good for you. You’ll know who they are by the way they make you feel. 🥰
4. Fun Makes Us Healthier
I have scientific proof for this one, and if you want to read the nitty-gritty details here they are. To sum it up, a bunch of people with Ph.D.’s studied the effect of enjoyable leisure time on the human body (read: why you need fun). What they found was that people that had more fun in their free time had:
- Lower blood pressure
- Less cortisol (the stress hormone responsible for a host of illnesses)
- Smaller waist circumference and BMI
- Perceptions of better health
- Higher levels of positive psychosocial states
- Lower levels of depression
5. Fun Makes You Happy
Think back on the times in your life when you were happy. You were having fun, weren’t you? Catherine Price says the secret to being happy is more fun. Real fun. Not activities that make you say “That was SO much fun; we should totally do that again” when you know that you don’t want to do that again, like, ever. (Okay, I stole that from Catherine).
So, now that we know why you need fun, let’s talk about what fun is and how to have more.
5 Ways to Have More Fun
1. Change Your Definition of Fun
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fun as “what provides amusement or enjoyment”. If you listen to Catherine, they’ve got it all wrong. Her definition of fun is the synergy of playfulness, connection, and flow. From that perspective, having fun is not participating in leisure activities, although it can be. Fun is the moments, wherever and whenever they happen, where you are connected, playful, and in the natural, open state referred to as “flow“.
2. Reduce Distractions
Yes, she means to break up with your phone, at least temporarily. In her talk, she points out that we often say we scroll through our phones “for fun” but if we’re honest with ourselves it doesn’t feel that way. Instead, it often makes us feel bad about, well, everything. That means, to have more real fun, put the phone away. To learn how, you can read Catherine’s book, “How to Break Up With Your Phone“.
3. Increase Connection (with other humans)
I know, it can be scary interacting with other humans. But, as we talked about Why You Need Fun #3, it’s important, even to introverts. Aristotle once said, “Man is by nature a social animal” and these days there are scientists backing him up.
Simon N. Young says in his article, “The neurobiology of human social behaviour: an important but neglected topic“, that “humans are inherently social. We are not special in this way; it is hard to think of any animal for whom the regulation of social behaviour is not important. Something akin to social behaviour may even occur in organisms lacking a nervous system.” He goes on to claim “Given the importance of social interactions for humans, it is not surprising that most psychiatric disorders involve some disruption of normal social behaviour, and that in several disorders abnormal social functioning is one of the central symptoms. Examples are autism, social anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.”
That was real science-y. The Cliff Notes version is that people need people to be happy.
4. Find Opportunities to (Playfully) Rebel
No need to go all rebel without a cause. This is not old-school punk rock. This is permission to (harmlessly) break the Rules Of Being A Grown Up. In the talk, Christine tells a story of a group of mom friends that ditched work for the day, hid flasks in their purses, and went to a matinee showing of the movie “Bad Moms”. I wish I was friends with them. Don’t you?
Another way to stop #adulting is to get together with friends and have dessert for breakfast. Or break out into a spontaneous dance party in the middle of the store during group retail therapy. Organize a flash mob takeover of school registration day. You get the picture.
That brings me to my last fun tip…
5. Prioritize It!
You can put an entry in your calendar if you want, but like Catherine Price says, scheduling “Have Fun” from 4-6 p.m. on Saturdays seems like a guaranteed way not to have any. Instead, make having fun a constant priority like you might make drinking enough water or getting to work on time a priority. What you focus on expands, so if you focus on fun you’re bound to have more of it. Recognize that fun can be right around any corner and can happen at any moment. All it takes is that magic combination of playfulness, connection, and flow.
Show Me Your Fun!
When I was preparing to write this blog post, I asked my connections to weigh in with their opinions on why you need fun. Literally, no one responded. Not a single comment.🤯 That tells me you need more fun in your life. I want you to have fun, and I want to see proof! Tag @basicbfindsbalance on Facebook or Instagram in a pic or video of you having fun and get featured on my story!
P.S. – my writing app tells me this is about a 6-minute read vs. the 12-minute video, so BOOM! I just saved you 6 minutes. Put your phone down or get up from your desk and go have some fun!
Love and Laughter,
Basic B Finds Balance
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