Why It's Vital To Create More Space For Joy And Play Throughout Your Life

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woman having fun
Self

Are you having fun in life?

Some mistakenly think that playing and having fun are things that only children do. It just seems to come naturally to many children. 

But, you don't have to be jealous of kids having fun because you can do that, too, — living life with more play, joy, and fun. And there are multiple reasons why play is important for adults, too. 

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There are 5 good reasons why play is important for adults.

1. It reduces stress and improves your mood.

Fun can reduce stress and laughter is actually an antidote to stress. As the saying goes, "Laughter is the best medicine."

Enjoyable recreational activity can also help reduce your levels of the stress hormones cortisol and noradrenalin, as well as improve your mood.

2. It gives you more energy.

Smiling and having fun can give you a boost of energy. You feel more alive and more youthful.

George Bernard Shaw said, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

3. You improve your concentration and memory skills.

Reading for fun can also increase your language and math skills.

And having more fun is another way to improve memory and concentration.

4. It makes your relationships more rewarding.

Relationships are more gratifying when there's an element of fun.

A sense of humor can help cut through tension and conflict.

5. You're more productive.

Creativity and playfulness can help you prevent burnout and increase productivity.

Playing and having fun is not simply about amusing ourselves.

Marshall Rosenburg, the author of "Non-Violent Communication," stated, "Don't do anything that isn't play." He suggested that we approach all that we do with a joyful attitude.

What can you do to make living life more wonderful?

It's simple: watch your language.

How often do you say, "I should..." or "I have to..." or "They made me do..."?

Doing something for the sake of obligation can suck the joy out of it. Whatever you're doing, you're choosing to do it, even if the reason you're making that choice is that you feel you have no choice.

Giving yourself permission to say "no" gives you permission to say "yes" to something else and mean it.

When you feel that you have to do something, you can never really say "yes" to it. You'll only be doing it because you have to.

By acknowledging your decision, you permit yourself to choose to find joy and have a good time as you approach the activity.

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That simple change in language is empowering.

Remember, whatever it is, "I am choosing to do this because..."

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Rosenburg would ask if you have a big enough "why" to keep doing what you are doing. If you don't have a big enough why — one that can motivate you to do it with a joyful attitude, then perhaps you should stop doing it.

Your "why" motivates you. A big enough why can pull you through and make an effort seem worthwhile.

There are many more reasons why play is important for adults other than simply doing what you want to do. There are also many good reasons for doing things that you don't particularly want to do.

Parents make sacrifices for their children because they want their children to grow up to be responsible adults.

Partners do things that are not important to them but are important to their partner.

You can choose to make these sacrifices and also enjoy your life.

Create more fun and play in your life by approaching each day with a joyful attitude.

Stop "should-ing" on yourself. Watch your language and replace "I have to..." with "I choose to because..."

Smile, find, and create fun and play in your life in everything you do.

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Susan Derry is a Registered Therapeutic Counselor who’s been working with couples and individuals for 22 years. For more information, visit her website.

This article was originally published at Bridge Counseling Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.