How to Make Everything More FunJun 29, 2023
This week’s podcast episode is a continuation of our discussion last week on play and today we’re talking all about fun. How do we have more fun not just when we’re playing, but in all the areas of our life? To put it simply, how can we make everything more fun?
As you might remember from last week’s episode, play is about the actions or activities that you do for the sole purpose of enjoyment.
Fun, on the other hand, is the way you experience the activity, that feeling of pleasure or joy. And since we get to create what we feel in our lives, fun doesn’t have to be reserved for play. We can create more fun in all areas of our lives.
Fun Starts With Your Thoughts
Lately, I’ve found myself dreading a lot of the things I’ve chosen to do in my life - things like training for the swim run event with my son, working in my business and helping my daughter plan her wedding.
My brain has been telling me that it’s too much, it’s too hard, it’s too many decisions and too much money.
These are parts of my life that I really want to love and cherish and enjoy. But my brain was creating so much dread around all of it.
Can you relate? You start out feeling so excited, but it takes work to hold onto that feeling. We have to work at managing our brains.
Because that feeling of dread comes from the way we’re thinking about these tasks, activities and events. Our brains want to preserve our energy. They’re not good at creating fun.
We have to create the fun for ourselves. It’s an intentional decision about how we’re going to think about things in order to feel more fun and joy in what we’re doing.
Why Is It So Hard to Have Fun?
It’s hard to have fun when the stakes are high.
When we start tying our value, worth or approval to what we’re doing, there’s a lot riding on whether or not it turns out well. If we don’t reach a goal, we make it mean something about ourselves. We feel like we’ve failed.
This makes our decisions feel heavy and puts a lot of pressure on our performance and the outcome of what we’re doing. All the fun seeps out.
Get curious about where you’re raising the stakes. What meaning are you creating around the things you’re doing? What are you making the outcome or your accomplishments mean? Is that taking the fun out of it?
It’s hard to have fun when you’re scared of doing it wrong.
Nothing takes the fun out of something like needing to do it “right”. You might feel afraid of being criticized, looking like a failure or wasting time or money.
We have to learn to accept and redefine failure. Let yourself do it wrong. Let yourself fail, and don’t make it mean anything about you. You get to decide what’s a failure and what is not.
It’s hard to have fun when you think you have to get somewhere else before it’s fun.
Often, we think there is some finish line - some specific day or event when the fun part will kick in and we’ll feel amazing. So we trudge through all the things we need to do to get there. And we wait for the fun.
But what if those in-between steps are where we let our brains practice having fun? Because if you don’t practice managing your brain, it will find problems even on the big race day, wedding day or whatever your “finish line” is.
Train your brain to look for enjoyment here, now, today.
It’s hard to have fun when you are somewhere else.
If your mind is in the past or future, you can’t appreciate the present.
Is your brain creating shame or judgment or criticism because of your past? Is it creating a lot of anxiety and fear and dread about the future?
If so, I want to invite you into the present. It doesn’t matter where you’re going. It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from. We can only feel fun right now.
It’s hard to have fun when you think the fun is created outside of you.
Fun isn’t created by the thing you’re doing. You have to take responsibility for the fun.
Start by bringing your awareness to it. Ask yourself in any moment, “How can this be fun?” This is much more about your thoughts than your actions.
What are you thinking that is not allowing you to have fun? What would you need to think in order to have fun?
You can also just decide that it is fun. You have so much more power than you think to decide your experience. Liking or enjoying something is not a circumstance. It’s a decision and a feeling, which means you can create it for yourself.
And one final thought…
Sometimes fun CAN come from an action - smiling! The act of smiling or laughing can actually change the chemistry of your brain so that things feel lighter and more fun.
So next time you’re running on the treadmill or doing a chore you don’t love, try a simple smile and see if it changes your experience.
Life is hard sometimes, and we all have our challenges, but there is so much good among the hard things. And there is more room for play and fun in our lives.
We are the creators of our emotions, so put yourself in charge of creating more fun in all areas of your life.
- Why fun shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions
- Why having fun feels so hard sometimes
- How to make everything more fun…starting now
(If you missed it, be sure to check out part one of this two-part series, Time for Play)
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