FUN, LAUGHTER & WELL-BEING

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein

 

“Having fun is the best way to learn.”

Albert Einstein

 

“I like to have fun, just stay relaxed.”

Usain Bolt

 

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

Dale Carnegie

 

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”

Michael Jordan

DO WE REALLY NEED TO LEARN THAT HAVING FUN IS GOOD FOR US?

IN CASE WE NEED TO BE REMINDED…

One doesn’t have to look far to know that fun is important to our well-being.
We just need to look at our own experiences to see the role fun has had in our lives.

 

Think Back…
  • Remember the last time you had a lot of fun?
  • What was good about it for you?
  • What advantages did it offer you in the way you felt? thought?
  • What is better about the way you do things when fun is part of your life?
  • What are some fun things you would like to do when you next decide to seize the opportunity?

 

 

Some of the benefits attributed to fun & leisure
  • Happier
  • Healthier
    • reduced risk of chronic diseases
    • better quality of sleep
  • Social connectedness
    • unites families and communities
  • Motivating
  • Reduces stress
  • Think clearer
  • More growth
    • improves quality of life (self-esteem, personal & spiritual growth, life satisfaction)

 

 

In case you needed boring research to convince you further:)
  • Increasing happiness is directly linked to improving physical and mental health (Maccagnan, Wren-Lewis, Brown, & Taylor, 2018).

 

  • Walking outside or viewing nature can be beneficial to psychological wellbeing (Buckley, Brough, & Westaway, 2018).
    • This means that simply being in and looking at nature can help to alleviate feelings of stress, or anxiety, while also increasing one’s perception of life (Buckley et al., 2018).

 

  • Experiencing joy and fun increases the desire to (Maccagnan et al., 2018):
    • be social
    • take part in more activities that provide the same feelings
    • Conversely, social isolation is correlated with lower happiness and fun.

 

  • Taking part in fun little things like eating chocolate or watching funny video clips has been shown to improve productivity, especially when working (Maccagnan et al., 2018). 
  •  

 

  • Fun produces endorphins, which reduces stress and pain.

 

  • Watching a movie that mirrors one’s own situation can help to better identify, work through, and express emotions that we may be feeling (Singer, 2018).

 

  • Studies have shown that even short sessions of creating art is beneficial in the reduction of stress and cortisol levels (Kaimal, Ray & Muniz, 2016).

 

  • Participating in fun activities makes for good cocktail party conversation, which makes the party more fun and increases social interactions

Studies have shown that laughter and humour are:

 

  • good ways of relieving stress and improving general wellbeing.

 

  • coping measures towards stressful and adverse life events (Kuiper & Martin, 1998)
    • helps respond more positively to these events
    • safeguards against the impact from negative life events

 

  • stress management techniques and sources of motivation (Kuiper & Martin, 1998)

 

  • protective mechanisms to the development of undesirable feelings associated with depression, anxiety, stress etc.

 

Click here and tell us you didn’t laugh:  “Laughter Yoga
  • Plan a trip
  • Listen to music
  • Going for a walk in the Forest, Park, or Around your Neighbourhood.
    • Maybe you’ll see a Pileated Woodpecker
  • Try Painting a Picture, making a Scrapbook, a Visualization board, Decorating a journal.
    • If it doesn’t turn out the way you imagined it, call it abstract art and give it to your kid
  • Writing Creatively, Keeping a Journal etc.
    • Why not write a story? Your story? Your desired story? A poem
  • Sitting in Natural Environments…or saunas and spas
  • Watching a Movie.
    • Which actor or actress do you fancy watching?
  • Reading a Book.
    • You’ll probably like the Count of Monte Cristo the second time around too
  • Building a Model.

  • Building Lego Kits.
    • Improvise after you’ve followed the instructions.
  • Try learning Magic Tricks, A new skill, or trying a Hobby you always wanted to try, but never got around to.
  • Putting a Puzzle Together.
  • Logic Puzzles/Whodunit Books
  • Anything else that you can think of that you enjoy personally.

Check out the Therapeutic Activities page for more information.

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”
-Michael McGriffy M.D.
 
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein
 
“Bridges symbolize change and flexibility! They show us this simple philosophy: When you are on one side, you can easily move to the other side!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

 

1. Health Problems

  • Sometimes we think we can’t have fun until we’re 100%.
    • But, have you noticed how the children in hospitals have fun?

 

  • Suppose you can’t ride your motorbike until you are recovered…Does that mean you can’t have any fun?
    • When you were having fun before riding your motorbike, what kinds of things were you doing in your life?
    • What benefit did those things have on your life?
    • What did they allow you to do better?
    • What did others notice that fit with you having fun?

 

 

2. Not having enough time

 

 

3. Finding that spirit of playfulness (“Inner child”)

  • Dr. David Burns observed that we tend to underestimate how fun things are, especially things we used to find fun
    • Try scheduling an activity that you used to find fun using the Input-Output Chart Worksheet
    • Then use the Pleasure Predicting Log (Burns, D., 1980) to see if you were overestimating or underestimating how much fun that activity would be
      • This can serve as a foundational point to “dress up” the activity to squeeze out more fun (e.g., adding music, adding people, etc.)

 

  • Dr. Seligman and fellow researchers have found that the activities that bring the “Authentic Happiness” include:
    • Pleasant life: doing more pleasant things
    • Engaged life: doing more things that exploit your strengths (i.e., things you’re good at)
    • Meaningful life: server a higher purpose (i.e., God, country, community, passion, etc.)

 

 

4. Not having enough money

  • As the world has become more affluent, research has been done into looking into why happiness is not growing proportionately with wealth.
    • It turns out that experiential activities are more fun that materialistic pursuits. Read more in our article “Therapeutic Activities

 

  • Also, fun and enjoyable activities can include things you are paid for
    • The Japanese have an old concept in their culture known as Ikagai
    • Interestingly, Ikigai predates Dr. Seligman & colleagues’ observations on Authentic Happiness and came to similar conclusions regarding activities we do:
      • The the intersection of the 3 paths to Authentic Happiness stated above along with what we can get paid for will give true Authentic Happiness

 

 

5. Social Isolation

 

“We were together, I forget the rest.”

-Walt Whitman

 

  • Much research has shown that disconnection is associated with social impairment and depression (Joiner et al., 2002)
  • Social Connectedness will be discussed in more detail in another article

1. SMILE

    • “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”
    • Starting off by intentionally smiling can have interpersonal benefits and health benefits
    • Try it out for a day, smiling at all those you meet and notice what version of those people you draw out during your encounter with them
      • Try saying “Good morning” with a smile, “Thank you” with a smile, “What are you having for lunch?” with a smile
    • Your facial muscles are most relaxed when you are smiling
      • Smiling tends to use the facial muscles more efficiently than any other facial expression
    2. LAUGH MORE
    • Even simulated laughter has been found to be helpful, and is an actual therapy
    • Allow yourself to follow the sound of laughter
    • A Georgia State University study found that incorporating bouts of simulated laughter into an exercise program helped improve older adults’ mental health as well as their aerobic endurance.
      • Plus, hearing others laugh, even for no apparent reason, can often trigger genuine laughter.
      • Observe children, especially young children, they often allow themselves to laugh (with joy) just at the sight of another person laughing…give it a try:)
    • Bring humour into your daily life
   

3. Gratitude

The health benefits of gratitude have been outlined in our article “Gratitude“.    

4. Spend time with playful people

  • The point to hanging out with people doesn’t always have to be about business.
  • It also may be more fun that you currently think…test it out with our Pleasure Predicting Log
  • Make a Behavioural Experiment to challenge any idea stopping you from having more fun (e.g., I don’t have time, it will not allow me to get stuff I need done done, it will be a waste of time, etc.) and see how hanging out with playful people improves your mood and other things that are important to you in your life (e.g., productivity, sleep, health, etc.)
   

5. Schedule in some playtime

Buckley, R. C., Brough P., & Westaway, D. (2018). Bringing outdoor therapies into mainstream mental health. Frontiers in public health, 6(119), 1-4. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00119 Coleman, R.; https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/management/upload/1536_ca-health_benefits_081505-2.pdf Joiner, T. E., Lewinsohn, P. M., & Seeley, J. R. (2002). The core of loneliness: Lack of pleasurable engagement—more so than painful disconnection—predicts social impairment, depression onset, and recovery from depressive disorders among adolescents. Journal of Personality Assessment, 79, 472–491. Kaimal, G., Ray, K. & Muniz, J. (2016). Reduction of cortisol levels and participants’ responses following art making. Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 33(2), 74-80. https://doi-org.libaccess.senecacollege.ca/10.1080/07421656.2016.1166832 Kuiper, N. A., & Martin, R. A. (1998). Laughter and stress in daily life: Relation to positive and negative affect. Motivation and Emotion 22(2), 133-153. DOI:10.1023/A:1021392305352 Maccagnan, A., Wren-Lewis, S., Brown, H., & Taylor, T. (2018). Wellbeing and society: Towards quantification of the co-benefits of wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 141(1), 217-243. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-017-1826-7 Singer, J. (2018, December 20). How watching movies can benefit our mental health. PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-watching-movies-can-benefit-our-mental-health#1 Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay Image by Emi Lija from Pixabay Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay Image by Pexels from Pixabay Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay Image by Amberrose Nelson from Pixabay Kishan, R. (March 4, 2015). Laughter Yoga video by Ram Kishan – First Session by Raja Babu [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbZVBljvm_U&ab_channel=RamKishan

Writing by: Matthew Bilardo & Dr. Taher Chugh

Last edit on: April 2021