Psychology Today makes a strong case for the importance of play, stating that having fun is serious business. It goes on by declaring the following:
Just as the child is father to the man, so childhood play fosters the flexibility of thought and deed, the sociability and the empathy our species will require in the trials ahead. Michael Gove, please take note: rote learning won’t turn back the floods. Children and adults need the space to mess around if we are to get out of the mess we are making for ourselves.
While the article focused mostly on childhood play, the conclusion is emphatic that fun is for both children and adults. Play can be described as any non-essential activity done just for the fun of it. That is not to say that play is not vital. It is a necessary part of human development, and might have implications for health, sociability, and even criminality.
Condensing the research to a bumper sticker: People who do not have fun do not live long, healthy, or rewarding lives. We need fun in the same way we need gainful employment. Here are a few ideas for injecting fun into your busy schedule:
Watch More Television
You will almost never hear a parent telling a child to watch more TV. But for the most part, they don’t have to. Children will happily sit on the couch and watch it all day if you let them. They need other types of stimulation for the mind and body. But many adults don’t watch nearly enough television. They have gotten it into their heads that television is a bad thing. And they consider it a badge of honor that they watch so little of it.
That would be fine if these adults are too busy waterskiing, hiking, and assembling puzzles to watch TV. But all too often, the TV deprived are also the fun deprived. And an Hour a day of TV is one of the best and easiest ways to break into a little good, clean fun.
The watercooler conversation revolves around the latest episode of Game of Thrones. We speak an idiomatic language. Much of those idioms come from television. Wether you are watching NFL Sunday Ticket with the big play happened, or local DIRECTV channels for that major slip-up from the Emmys, TV is a part of the shared experience of fun from a cultural perspective.
A hike is just a walk through nature. And if it happens to take you past a Starbucks and a shopping mall, that’s okay too. While some might say the point is exercise, the real point is fun. The best part about a hike is it can easily accommodate the whole family with benefits ranging from better health to bonding.
You can increase the fun-factor by selecting great destinations, especially those that are pedestrian-friendly. Many European cities were built for walking as opposed to many US cities that cannot be safely navigated without a car. So even if you don’t know a thing about the wild, you can still take a hike. It is among the most fun and least expensive sporting activities that works for the entire family.
Everybody needs a hobby. Stress relief and positive self-esteem are just two of the benefits of having a pass time that is all about you doing something you love without anyone imposing rules or structure, or judgement over the outcome.
Perhaps you have a passion for drawing, writing, making music, or putting together fun little videos for social media. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it is something you enjoy. Depriving yourself of hobbies because you are too busy working is to completely miss the point. It is either a hobby or counseling. The hobby is cheaper, and a lot more fun.
TV, hiking, and personal pursuits: these are the makings of playful fun. Take your fun a little more seriously. Because a good time is a terrible thing to waste.