Everyone loves to have fun, but with so much stress and pressure in our daily lives to keep up and to succeed, sometimes fun can seem a little frivolous.
But fun isn’t frivolous—it’s essential! In addition to myriad health benefits, making time for fun in your day can actually help improve your productivity.
So the next time you need an excuse to have a little fun, look no further…
Having fun and taking time to play reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.
Elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to reduced cognitive functioning, lowered immunity and increased risk for disease. Stress has even been linked to the six leading causes of death in the US!
Having fun not only reduces cortisol levels, it also increases levels of serotonin–one of our brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals.
Plus, when you combine fun with a physical activity such as dancing or sports, your brain releases more feel-good chemicals in the form of endorphins. These chemicals increase our sense of well-being and can even help relieve pain.
Over the long-term, reduced cortisol, increased levels serotonin and endorphins, and an increase in energy leads to a much healthier lifestyle. You will feel more naturally inclined to be active, and your body will benefit!
With reduced stress and more happy moments in your day, you are in a better place to cope when difficult situations inevitably arise.
Think about it: if you’ve had a bad day and arrive home grumpy, you’re more likely to snap at your partner or children when they make a mistake. But if you’ve made time to do something fun, you’ll be in a better mood and more able to handle the situation.
Another benefit to reducing cortisol and increasing serotonin is an improved ability to concentrate.
Stress takes up a lot of mental energy, even when we aren’t aware of it. Reducing that stress helps free up more mental energy for other things.
Taking the time to enjoy conversations and activities with others increases our feelings of connection, helps to build trust and brings a deeper sense of meaning to our lives.
Social connection is one of our six core human needs, and relationships are built on these kinds of shared memories of having fun together.
Play is the most significant tool for children when it comes to learning, and that doesn’t change as we get older.
Having fun increases our ability to think creatively, helps us handle problems and makes it easier to learn new things.
Play, such as games or sports, helps improve social skills and increases our ability to work with others.
There’s a reason companies use games as a key method of team-building amongst employees; people learn to work better together through doing something fun or having a shared experience!
Humour is a great way to break the ice in social situations and develop better connections with others. Laughing and smiling have a huge positive impact on our mood, and can lower blood pressure, improve breathing and regulate our heartbeat.
So, to get you started, here’s a joke:
Now get out there and have some fun!