Fun is underrated.
As adults, our lives are complicated and often very serious.
We are involved in the serious business of grown-up stuff.
We work hard. We support our families. We worry about money and higher prices.
We fret about the condition of the world, politics, our children. We have endless chores and tasks without much time for fun.
We look at other people having fun and wonder how they can be so indulgent. But it's not indulgent — it's an essential part of being human.
Here's what you'll learn in this post about how to have fun and why it's so important:
- Children need fun and play to develop properly.
- Research shows adults need fun just as much as children.
- Fun and play have many social, emotional, mental, and physical benefits.
- Playing and having fun doesn't have to be competitive.
- You don't need to spend a lot of money to have fun.
- Watch kids having fun to remember what it means to be carefree.
Why Children Need to Have Fun
Have you ever noticed that children can have fun from morning until bedtime, only pausing for meals? They don't even think about the need for fun — they just create it.
These days, kids lives are so scheduled that parents often have to make time for “play dates” and fun activities for their kids. Research shows that the amount of play time children get has been declining for decades.
We are doing a disservice to our children (and their future adult selves) by not allowing them more time for unstructured play and fun.
Spontaneous fun and play help children develop socially, emotionally and physically. It also trains and enhances their cognitive abilities, helps them regulate their emotions, and helps protect them against toxic stress.
When they enjoy activities that involve creativity, decision-making, problem-solving, cooperation, and negotiation, children are learning valuable skills they can apply when they become adults.
However, the value of fun and play doesn't end at childhood. Adults need fun in their lives as well.
Why Adults Need to Have Fun
Life can be overwhelming with our work and life responsibilities, but even so, we need to carve out more time for fun.
As the saying goes, “Time flies when you're having fun,” so once you're engaged in it, you won't feel like you're sacrificing too much of your “responsible” time.
You may even have more energy to be productive and focused during your work hours.
But if you need more reinforcement that it's not indulgent to enjoy yourself in life, research has proven the essential value of fun for adults.
Here are some of the benefits of fun and play for adults:
1. Having fun relieves stress.
Play and fun trigger the release of endorphins, the chemicals that promote a sense of well-being. Endorphins can even relieve pain.
2. Having fun improves brain function.
Playing games, working on puzzles, and doing any fun activities that challenge your brain improves memory and brain function.
3. Having fun boosts creativity and stimulates your mind.
Just as children learn through play, adults also continue to develop mentally through playful and creative activities that are fun.
4. Having fun improves relationships.
When you have fun with others, you have the opportunity to enhance compassion, connection, empathy, trust, and intimacy.
5. Having fun teaches cooperation.
Just as kids learn to “play nicely” with others, you learn through fun and play how to get along with other adults by negotiating and cooperating.
6. Having fun breaks down barriers.
The joy and energy that fun evokes are universal. The differences between you and another person fall away when you are engaged in a fun activity.
7. Having fun keeps you young and energetic.
Having fun and playing can boost your energy and enhance feelings of vitality. It can even improve your resistance to disease and illness.
The Proven 10-Step Guide To Having Fun Everyday
Now that you know how important and valuable it is to have fun, you may need a brief refresher course on how to add more of it in your life.
Before you review these steps, take a moment to reflect on some of your most fun times as a child. Close your eyes, and pull yourself back in time to feel the feelings of joy and contentment you felt.
- What were you doing?
- Who was with you?
- What made the activity so enjoyable?
Allow those feelings to settle over you as you plan and prepare to infuse your adult life with more of these same emotions.
Check out these ten steps you can follow to reignite having fun:
1. Take yourself and your life less seriously.
Lighten up about the serious business of being an adult. Serious business will always be there whether or not you choose to focus on it all the time.
Give yourself permission to feel joyful, silly, and childish.
2. Embrace the truth that fun is good.
You don't need to feel guilty or embarrassed about having fun. Being an adult doesn't mean you've lost the child-like quality of wonder and joy and wild abandonment.
Scientific research has given you the green light on having fun, so embrace it!
3. Don't be self-conscious about having fun.
It's okay to look goofy and unabashedly happy sometimes. Let your hair fly in the wind. Dance like no one is watching. Laugh until you cry.
Self-consciousness is the enemy of fun and will shut it down before you can enjoy a moment of it. You don't need to be serious and pulled together 24/7. Shake it up sometimes.
4. Remember how kids have fun.
I loved riding my bike. Maybe you did too. Some of the old-fashioned stuff is still the most fun. Here are some other fun things you might try again:
- flying a kite
- throwing a ball
- camping in a tent
- wading in a stream
- reading in a hammock
- building a sandcastle
- having a picnic
- playing cards
- jumping on a trampoline
- riding with the windows down
Remember, you don't need to spend a lot of money to have fun. Simple pleasures and unstructured time with others are often the most enjoyable activities.
4. Nourish your friendships to have partners in fun.
Some of the most fun occasions in my life have been with my girlfriends when we're just hanging out and laughing at silly stuff.
Don't wait for your friends to initiate. Become the fun instigator of your circle. Plan unstructured get-togethers where you can just kick back and relax.
Or do something that requires fun teamwork — like a three-legged race or learning to square dance.
5. Build time for fun with your spouse or partner.
Think back on the times when you were first together and the fun you created naturally.
Rekindle those moments. Be playful. Make him/her laugh with silliness or private jokes. Take fun into the bedroom.
Playfulness is a sign of a healthy relationship. The more you enjoy of it, the better your relationship will be.
6. Teach your children how to have fun.
It's easy to go off into your separate corners of the house to do chores, homework, or computer surfing.
Pile up on the bed for a pillow fight or tickle-fest. You'll find these playful activities seem to melt away any tension or stress in your household.
7. Be creative and spontaneous.
All fun activities don't have to be planned or traditional.
Maybe dancing in your underwear isn't your idea of fun, but come up with something unexpected or surprising.
Start a water balloon fight with your kids or have an impromptu scavenger hunt with your neighbors. Put on some music and dance with your partner around the family room.
When the mood seems to be particularly serious or stressful, lighten it up with spontaneity.
8. Make it non-competitive.
There are many sports and games that are loads of fun until it starts getting competitive.
Then the lighthearted fun can quickly morph into an ego-based urge to win. That's a different kind of fun that stokes a different part of the psyche.
If you can play a competitive game, like cards or a board game, without sacrificing fun, that's fine. Just be mindful that a game doesn't become a competition.
9. Be child-like, but remember your limits.
I was urged by my kids to body surf in the ocean a few years back. They were having so much fun, and I wanted to join in.
But with the first big wave, I was slammed to the ocean floor face first and sported a lovely abrasion from brow to chin for the remainder of the vacation.
Maybe you did cartwheels across the front yard as a kid or climbed to the top of trees. Maybe that still seems fun — but make sure your adult body can still handle it.
10. Plan fun into your life.
It's easy to forget about fun. It's been so long since it lived with us every day as a regular companion.
Fun may not come knocking at your door, so you may have to invite it in. Plan fun activities with your family and friends.
Look for opportunities to experience fun. Find ways to make the tedious tasks of life more interesting and fun to enliven your spirit and brighten your day.
20 Quotes About Having Fun
I'm convinced that we are programmed from birth to have fun and enjoy this beautiful Earth we call home. It's only as we age that real fun is abandoned for the pursuit of it.
Go enjoy the fun you once enjoyed as a child and abandon yourself to the joy of just living life.
Here are 20 having fun quotes to inspire you to make time for joy, laughter, and play.
1. “My philosophy is: If you can’t have fun, there’s no sense in doing it.” – Paul Walker
2. “Life is too short to worry about stupid things. Have fun. Regret nothing, and don’t let people bring you down.” – Anonymous
3. “Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.” – Nina Dobrev
4. “There’s no fear when you’re having fun.” – Will Thomas
5. “I am going to keep having fun every day I have left, because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore.” – Randy Pausch
7. “Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it.” – Eileen Caddy
8. “Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else.” – Richard Branson
9. “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss
10. “The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn
11. “There are going to be good times and bad times, but lighten up.” – Chris Pine
12. “It’s more fun when you’re not the only one having it.” – the Oaqui
13. “Sometimes having fun with your best friend is all the therapy you need.” – Author Unknown
14. “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” – Bill Watterson
15. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein
16. “You have to let go of the rope to have more fun.” – Anonymous
17. “Enjoy life. Have fun. Be kind. Have worth. Have friends. Be honest. Laugh. Die with dignity. Make the most of it. It’s all we’ve got.” – Ricky Gervais
18. “You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun. Ask yourself, ‘Am I having fun?'” – Christopher Meloni
19. “There's no fear when you're having fun.” – Will Thomas
20. “‘Sexy' is being independent, being confident and having fun.” – Mollie King
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