My dog Rafferty is really clever! He has his life all sorted out! He knows what’s good for him and he knows how to have fun! When he is super happy, his whole face smiles with joy. His ears even change shape! That's him in the bluebells!
Children naturally know how to have fun too! Do you remember playing pooh sticks as a kid? I do. With my little brother, we would race from one side of the footbridge to the other to see whose stick made it first under the bridge. We also used to go fishing with sticks and string. We didn’t catch much but we had hours of fun. That's us lying on our tummies with our homemade fishing rods!
So if you ever find yourself in a ‘sticky’ situation, why not take a break and play with some sticks? It seems to work out well for dogs and children!
Why has it taken me so long to discuss fun with you? It should have featured much higher in the priority of my weekly focus topics as having fun is so important. Reading Your Brain is Boss by neuroscientist Dr Lynda Shaw, Lynda writes that ‘fun and humour play a major part in our cognitive function. They help facilitate social engagement, which is vital for human survival. When we laugh together, we come together on common ground.’ She goes on to explain that ‘as the human brain evolved, the capacity for laughter preceded the capacity for speech.’ Therefore fun and humour are fundamental to your communication, your learning and your wellbeing.
When you are having fun, the brain releases feel good hormones such as serotonin and therefore reduces your cortisol levels. Why is this good? When you are in a pleasurable state, lower levels of cortisol allow you to focus more as you have increased headspace so you’ll be more productive, more efficient and effective. High levels of cortisol in the system can lead to ill health.
Copywriter, Author and Experiential Speaker, Jackie Barrie, proved the point that you learn and retain more information when you are having fun when she delivered a presentation on how to improve online engagement. She had the audience roaring with laughter and learning simultaneously by demonstrating the power of ‘pig psychology’, going on scavenger hunts, group paper tearing and got us using zoom functions we had no idea existed!
When you reflect about the fun times you had as a child, where were you, who were you with and what were you doing? Climbing trees, riding your bike, playing games with friends? Now I’m not recommending that you start climbing trees again or chase your friends around the neighbourhood on your bike. What I am recommending is that you look for patterns in the activities that gave you the most joy and recognise that there are likely to be similar preferences and activities that still light you up today.
To have more fun in your life, first it helps to know what fun looks like for you. Once you know, build more fun into your everyday life. It doesn’t just have to be at the weekends that you can have all the fun. Think how you could build more fun into your weekdays too. Remember having fun is what you do on the way to achieving all you want in life not as a reward.
“Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.” John Lennon
Jesse Cole spoke about the importance of fun for his baseball audience in Focus on WHY episode 133 Find Your Yellow Tux with Jesse Cole. He said, “we believe in the power of bringing people together in different ways and making it fun and finding a way. So, I think when you Focus on WHY, it's very easy to find a way.”
Take some time out today to have some fun! If you’ve turned your spare bedroom into a home office, now turn your home office into a dance floor and strut your stuff in between those zoom calls. Perhaps you could organise coordinated lunch breaks with friends or colleagues to have some fun together. You’ll head back to work feeling much more refreshed and productive.
Remember when you have fun, you laugh and you learn. Be more fun to have more fun! Lighten up, have a giggle, play games. Focus on fun!