1. Health
Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

By May 17, 2013

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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

Related Resources

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.

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Comments
May 18, 2009 at 5:50 am
(1) bogartkick says:

I love your tips on having fun with yourself. This is a good advice that people might need this in order to stay happy and have lots of fun. Thanks for sharing this article!

May 18, 2009 at 11:54 am
(2) Dr Beverly Potter says:

Fun is good and definitely good for combating stress. But stress does not cause job burnout.Burnout is a kind of job depression caused by feelings of powerlessness – uncontrollability.

The suggested actions in this article are good, not because they reduce stress, but because they increase controllability. Building a strong social support system, giving oneself rewards and arranging to get acknowledgement from others.

Burnout is stressful and the stress must be brought down. Stress the a symptom of burnout and not the cause. To prevent or overcome burnout one must concentrate on the cause uncontrollability and increase one’s sense of personal power in the situation.

May 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm
(3) stress says:

Bogartkick: Thank you for your comment. I hope you have a fun week!

Dr. Beverly Potter: Thank you for your comment, and you bring up important points that deserve clarification. It’s true that it isn’t stress alone that causes burnout, it’s a specific type of stressor. The uncontrollability is a big part of that, and it shows up in a job situation in the form of things like unclear requirements, lack of recognition, unrealistic standards, highly negative consequences for mistakes, etc.

For those who are interested in reading further about burnout, its symptoms and causes, there’s a link in the blog, or you can see more here: http://stress.about.com/od/burnout/a/stressn_burnout.htm

May 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm
(4) Bachus & Schanker says:

Thanks for the tips. Fun just doesn’t seem to be a priority sometimes. It’s all work, work, work and stress, stress, stress :(

May 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm
(5) Stress Reducer Susan says:

I, too, am a huge fan of staycations and local vacations. My personal favorite is going camping at my local campground which is all of 20 minutes away. It’s a state park with resident rates so it’s pretty inexpensive too.

Whether it’s at home or close to home, the key to really having fun and reducing stress is to unplug. Especially in the current economy, watching television and particularly tv news is deadly.

I recommend unplugging completely…the television, the radio, the newspapers, the computer and the phones. It’s all still there waiting for you when you get back, but giving yourself that respite goes a long way toward renewed energy and stress reduction.

June 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm
(6) Plutogirl says:

How about just saying no to a life of “work, work, work” and “stress, stress, stress?” Every person has a choice. I decided a long time ago that I never wanted to be a “serious grownup,” and I never became one. I’m very happily single with no kids, work as a freelance writer and also as an actress. Too often, I encounter jealous people who get angry and condemn me for not taking on “adult responsibilities.” I think it makes more sense to not take them on if one knows one cannot or does not want to handle them. Would you get a dog if you knew you couldn’t or wouldn’t walk it regularly? Choosing a Bohemian life does mean foregoing a lot of material things, but it is also happier, less stressful, and more eco-friendly. Too often, people just take on the responsibilities because of social pressure without even realizing that they do have a choice. Then one day they wake up and find they have no fun in their lives. The truth is, no one has to live this way.

July 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm
(7) Alex says:

I’ve traveled quite a bit, and what I’ve discovered is the less “western” the country, the happier and more welcoming the populace. As westerners, we can learn a lot from people who live simpler lives, with a focus on family and the basics in life. I think our industrial surroundings, long commutes, car culture, distance from loved ones, and other demanding trappings of modern life put a lot of stress on our society. These things also limit the amount of time we have to make fun, and have fun. I hope for a simpler life for all of us!

July 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm
(8) Marce says:

Check out the Llama’s life perspective: if it doesn’t make sense to them, and isn’t “fun” for them to do, they just don’t do it! Using that, I had as much “fun” turning all my elem. school lessons into “fun” experiences for the kids, and yes, they did have a good time! How did I know? They could hardly wait to get to the next lesson! Know what else? They remembered what we learned long after they were “tested” on the material as well as the good times we had together! I continue having fun in retirement hearing from former students remembering many of the things we did and how they have incorporated the “fun full-osophy” into their own professional and personal lives! When they share their memories with me like this, I am truly blessed and encouraged to continue keeping the fun in learning with the children I now tutor.

August 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm
(9) Halloween contacts says:

Laughter is indeed good medicine, I just read that simply adopting a smile on your face helps your mood too!

December 11, 2011 at 9:55 am
(10) synthol says:

i love stress.about.com !!

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