What is fun, really? And how do we get more of it in this busy world where productivity is prioritized over leisure?  We all know when we’re having fun…or do we?

In her book, The Power of Fun, author Catherine Price suggests we’re mislabeling our fun. She’s come up with a new term “true fun” to describe those moments when we’re in a state of flow and losing track of time. She very pointedly observes that most of what we categorize as fun these days is not fun (she calls it “fake fun”) and instead of recharging our souls, fake fun actually drains us further. Yikes, right??

If you’re suffering from a lack of fun in your life, but aren’t sure how to infuse your day-to-day with more fun moments, here are a few strategies I use for myself and with my coaching clients to be intentional about having fun (which kinda doesn’t make it sound like much fun, but trust me -you’ll be glad you tried them!)

Using Price’s definition of “true fun”: “the magical confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow”, we know that this kind of true fun can’t exactly be planned. I mean, no one schedules into a road trip a fave song spontaneously playing on the radio and everyone in the car singing at the top of their lungs (even my family would groan if I wrote this on our trip itinerary lol). But we’ve all experienced moments like this and our souls crave more of them. In fact, fun is an essential part of a healthy, happy life.

And here’s the good news! We CAN create opportunities for true fun with intention – and even develop habits that encourage fun moments in our daily life. If you follow me here on YayDude or on social media [(@juliereising for Instagram and
Facebook)], you know I’m Queen of the Mindset Shift, so it comes as no surprise to you that Tip #1 is – yep, you guessed it – a mindset shift. 🙂 While we can’t always control our situation in the moment, one thing we can control is how we respond or relate to it. When was the last time you approached a frustrating situation with a playful attitude? Frustration and feelings like it are always available to us, and so is playfulness. Try finding the absurdity of the situation: like the other day when I couldn’t get logged into my brand new MacBook – it took 40 minutes texting with Apple tech and after first getting frustrated – I began to laugh at the absurdity because the very purpose of buying a new computer was to save time and be more efficient. Where can you insert more playfulness into your everyday?

Tip #2: Put down your phone (or tablet, or smart TV or…). Be honest, you’re not surprised by this one. We all know it – few of us do it. Price makes a well-researched point about just how disruptive our smart devices can be. And the proof is in the pudding on this one: how engaged with our immediate experience can we be when we are distracted by the buzzes and blips of notifications or worse yet – completely zoned out as we doomscroll or binge watch yet another season of Ozark?? I’m not suggesting you move to a remote mountain with no wifi, but eliminating distractions is a MUST if we are to be present enough in the moment to experience true fun. My hubs and I are practicing this – we’re doing a puzzle together instead of watching TV in the evenings. I’ve noticed how much more banter and playfulness happens when we’re doing the puzzle.

Tip #3: Create opportunities for “flow”. According to Flow Theory, flow is “a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity”. What is something you love doing and when you’re doing it, time seems to stand still? Do more of that thing! Don’t have a thing? No problem! You now have a very legit reason to find your thing: your own mental, emotional and even physical well-being is on the line here. Do it, for you!

As a play therapist and life coach play is a cornerstone of my work, and I’ve cultivated play as a cornerstone of my life as well. Gobs of research has revealed just how necessary play is to our mental, emotional and even physical health and honestly it just makes life so much better. Being playful doesn’t mean being the class clown, it means cultivating a playful attitude: a sense of humor about the foibles of life, bantering with people you love, and mostly it means engaging fully in the present moment with a sense of awe and wonder. Sometimes it’s noticing the “little things” like a brilliant sunset or a child’s laugh or sharing a laugh with a friend.

Julie Reising is our official life coach for Yay Dude, helping our fans with the topics of wellness, from the inside out. She’s a mindset and empowerment coach and you can schedule a free Rediscovery Call with her here.