Friday May 17, 2013
Are you having enough fun in your life? Chance are, you probably aren't reaching your required fun quota, and may be fun-deficient. And perhaps a fun-infusion is in order.
I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but having fun in your life is actually serious business. Many people are overwhelmed right now with tough economic times, are finding themselves working harder than before to keep their jobs, may be suffering from stress in their relationships as a result, and don't make fun a priority. This is understandable, but it's important to prioritize having fun, too. Here's why:
Eustress: Fun activities provide a source of eustress, the 'good' kind of stress that keeps you feeling vital and alive. It's the sense of excitement you get from completing a project, riding a roller coaster, or meeting an exciting challenge in your life. We need regular eustress in our lives, and fun activities can provide that.
Read More About Eutress
Positive Attitude: Having regular fun in your life can help you feel less overwhelmed by the stressors you face. This can help you change your attitude toward your lifestyle stressors so that you're less reactive to stress when you experience it.
Read More About Positive Attitude and Stress
The 'Best Medicine': Laughter carries many health benefits with it, so the more laughter you have in your life, the better it is for your health.
Read More About The Benefits of Laughter
User-Friendliness: It might be hard to hit the gym multiple times a week or forgo unhealthy 'comfort foods' when you're stressed, but fitting more fun and laughter into your life is something you can do for yourself that's also easy!
Read More About Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Strong Relationships: Couples who engage in new activities together and have regular fun together may enjoy a closer bond than they otherwise would if they fell into a rut. And a healthy relationship can be a great source of stress relief in your life.
Read More About Healthy Relationship Resources
Social Support: Likewise with friends, sharing fun activities with friends is a great way to maintain a supportive circle of buddies, keeping your bonds strong and helping everyone in the group keep stress levels low. Having strong friendships in your life, and a sense of community, has been linked with longevity, lower stress levels, and more positive states of health.
Read More About Social Support
Burnout Buffering: Having regular fun activities to spice up your life can also help you stave off burnout. Feelings of burnout can result from having a stressful job with unpredictable, hard-to-meet expectations and little recognition. One of the methods I've always endorsed for finding relief from this type of job stress is to give yourself small rewards, or start a group of supportive friends to high-five each other when they accomplish goals that would otherwise go unrecognized. Giving yourself a regular dose of fun is a way to do that, and share it with friends.
Read More About Burnout and Stress
So, after looking at some of the "why"s of having fun, let's look at the "how"s. How can we all get more fun into our lifestyles? It's simpler than you may think, if you make fun a priority. Here are some ideas:
Tips For Having Fun
Take A 'PlayCation' For Stress Relief
Fun Stress Relievers
How can you relieve stress by having fun? Here are some ideas to try!
Top Hobbies for Stress Relief
Certain activities are worth the time you put into them, just for the fun and stress relief you can get out of them. Here are some of my top picks for stress-relieving hobbies.
How To Maintain a Sense of Humor
Laughing at the stressors you face is one of the best ways to rob them of their difficulty. Here are some strategies for maintaining a sense of humor in life, and having more fun as you go.
Share Your Thoughts:
Do you feel that you have enough fun in your life? What do you do for fun? Share your thoughts in the comments section, and find more About Stress Management on Facebook.
Thursday May 16, 2013
There's an old adage that it's more important to want what you have than to have what you want. I love that phrase, and think of it often, as I see people experience stress over not
having what they want. I've also sometimes wondered if the truth behind the adage could hold up to scientific scrutiny.
Apparently, psychologist Jeff Larsen from Texas Tech University and Amie McKibban of Wichita State University wondered the same thing, and set out to test the theory! They studied college students and their attitudes toward one major possession: their cars. Students with cars were asked to rate how much they wanted the car they had; students without cars rated how much they wanted the car they didn't have.
The results, published in Psychological Science, prove what we all know: that people can become accustomed to what they have, appreciate their possessions less as the novelty wears off, and therefore derive less happiness from their possessions as time goes by. However, they also found that it's possible to continue to want the things you have, and that doing so can, in fact, bring greater happiness! In short, they proved that happiness is both wanting what you have and having what you want.
"Simply having a bunch of things is not the key to happiness," Larsen said in a prepared statement. "Our data show that you also need to appreciate those things you have. It's also important to keep your desire for things you don't own in check."
So how does one maintain an attitude of gratitude for possessions already owned? In my experience, maintaining a gratitude journal is key. If you write down what you're grateful for at the end of the day, you get into the habit of noticing what you appreciate and why, strengthening your appreciation for what you have in your daily life. It also takes the focus away from things you want but don't yet have. If you don't keep a journal, there are other ways of developing an attitude of gratitude, which is so important for happiness and stress relief.
Also, let's not forget the other finding in this research: while happiness is connected with wanting what you have, having what you want factors in as well, so don't give up on your goal-setting! Going after a goal (with the right attitude) can be exciting, and achieving what you want has its own obvious rewards. Here are some effective goal setting tips to help you find happiness, get what you want, and do so with less stress.
More Articles on Happiness and Gratitude:
Elaborate on your answer to the poll in the comments section, if you like!
Larsen JT, McKibban AR. Is happiness having what you want, wanting what you have, or both? Psychological Science April, 2008.
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Monday May 13, 2013
Mother's Day is one of my favorite holidays, as I love celebrating moms and I love being appreciated myself. However, the holiday is not as joyous a day for everyone. Aside from those who have lost mothers and grandmothers, or even those who mourn the relationships they wish they'd been able to have with their moms or children, there are those who experience Mother's Day as a blow to their marriage--and apparently there are more who feel this way than we may realize! One fascinating but sad fact that has stuck in my memory ever since I read it is that the day after Mother's Day is the
most popular day for signups from women on a "popular" website for married people looking to cheat. The suspected reason is that many mothers find themselves feeling disappointed and unappreciated on Mother's Day, and want to take action to recapture good feelings for themselves. The reasons people do things are unique and complex, and cannot usually be boiled down to one theory, but the fact that this is a viable theory means that many women out there are feeling unappreciated, unsupported, or both.
While most of these relationships need more help than can be provided in a blog (even this blog!), it is likely that these and virtually all relationships could benefit from a little stress management and communication training. Putting work into one's marriage is important for happiness, just as taking care of one's own needs is vital. Whether your Mother's Day was a great one or a day that left you feeling unhappy, stress management is an important and well-deserved aspect of life, not a luxury. The following resources can help you to make changes in life that can help you to feel happier, healthier, and closer to your mate. Put them into action--you deserve it, and you'll be glad you did!
Have More Fun And Enjoy Life
Life is meant to be enjoyed! Stressed moms may find themselves putting off some fun activities in favor of other responsibilities. This is sometimes necessary, but don't forget to work fun into your daily life--it's important for your resilience and stress levels. Here's how to have more fun and enjoy life.
Self-Care Strategies for Moms
You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else--and so you can enjoy life and more easily cope with stress! Here are some self-care strategies that can help you to feel less stress and more joy.
Maintaining A Happy Marriage
A stale marriage isn't as toxic as a highly conflict-ridden one, but can be problematic nonetheless. Learn what contributes to a happy marriage, and find tips for incorporating these ingredients into your life.
Fun and The Importance of Play
Do adults need 'play time', too? Quite simply, yes. Here's why, and how to get more fun into your life!
Readers Respond: Share Your Best Happy Marriage Tips!
Having a happy marriage takes work, but brings many benefits, including reduced stress. Good communication is key, as is mutual respect. But what else helps keep a marriage happy? What are your best tips for maintaining a happy marriage? See what other readers have to say, and add your best tips to the list! Share Your Best!
Like this post? Want to use it to start a discussion with your friends? Pass it on!
Monday May 13, 2013
National Women's Health Week
began on Mother's Day, as it does every year. This week, you are encouraged to do five things:
Part of the mental health aspect of this is to keep an eye on stress management, and have a plan that works for you. Staying active, eating a healthy diet, avoiding unhealthy behaviors, and keeping your body healthy--these other four foci can all support stress management efforts. It's all connected! And now is the time to take care of yourself and be sure that you're doing everything you can to safeguard your health.
I've linked resources in the list above, but I recommend the resources below as well. As women, especially those of us who are mothers, we tend to put others' needs before our own more often. This is kind and benevolent, and sometimes necessary, but we need to be sure that we take care of our own needs with dedication as well. (Not only are we more able to care for others when we are doing well ourselves, we deserve to have our needs met, particularly when these needs have to do with our health!)
I encourage you to subscribe to About.com's Women's Health Newsletter as well as our Healthy Monday Newsletter (which I edit)--they both have wonderful resources from all around About.com Health that can help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle in simple steps.
The following resources can help women take better care of themselves--for their own wellness and so that they can continue to provide excellent care to those that they love. Take them to heart, and send them to the women in your life!
Women's Wellness Resources:
Read About The Importance of Self Care
Top Strategies for Women's Health
Tips For Finding Balance
More Tips for Living a Low-Stress Lifestyle
Learn Great Home Spa Strategies