Source: Web exclusive, August 2011
Looking for fun? Don’t put it off to that vacation you may never take or the ATV you can’t afford. You don’t need a special occasion to have fun, says Aisha Alfa, a certified life coach in Winnipeg. ‘We’re so much more productive, creative, loving and accepting when we are in a joyful state,’ she points out. ‘If we could create that state more often, we could accomplish more, and we’d have a better self-image and perspective on life.’
It’s not hard to inject more fun in your day-to-day life. The first step is to forget the idea that it’s only for kids, and be open to adding enjoyment to your daily routines. Here are five ways you can have much more fun:
1. Go after laughter
If you suspect you’re laughing less as time goes on, you may be right. A researcher at University of Glamorgan in Wales concluded that as people age, they don’t laugh as often. But giggles are good for you: They lower stress levels, exercise your lungs, strengthen your immune system and may even protect you against heart disease. Plus, laughing is loads of fun. Make a point of watching a funny movie, TV show or stand-up comedy routine. Click on those hilarious videos your Facebook pals are passing around. Tell some jokes. Do a laughter exercise first thing in the morning by bending over, stretching and laughing your head off.
2. Switch up your same-old
Stuck in a rut? Now, that’s no fun. ‘In our routines, we tend to become less and less present and aware,’ says Alfa. Try shaking things up a little. Take a different walk to work or school and admire the scenery. Do your weekly grocery shopping at a store you’re not used to. Who knows what new gourmet treats you may find? It doesn’t even have to be much of a change to make it fun. ‘What if you slept in your bed the opposite way? It gives you a giggle!’ Alfa says.
3. Sign up with your social circle
If you’re planning to take an exercise class or evening course, get friends to go with you. Now you have a regular excuse to spend time with folks who make you feel good, and your leg lifts or study sessions will be a lot more fun. My weekly aqua fitness sessions were a hoot when my pal joined in and we cracked jokes throughout class. Experts at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research say that people are happier when they have a connection to their community. There’s even widespread evidence that physical activity’like the kind you get from a regular workout’improves your sense of well-being.
4. Do something you suck at
Yes, really! Whether it’s tackling a recipe for cheese soufflé, flying a kite with your neighbour’s kid or working on your swan dive, it can be fun to add activities to your everyday life that you haven’t mastered. We’re not talking about setting yourself up for frustration, but challenging yourself to a task you don’t yet know how to do. Without the pressure of having to be perfect, you’re free to laugh at your clumsy attempts, maybe learn something new and, most important of all, just enjoy yourself. The world won’t end if you fail, because nothing’s riding on your success, although Alfa notes: ‘You might succeed in ways you’re not expecting to, like changing your routine, networking with people or getting alone time. There’s success in everything.’
5. Practise peace, love and forgiveness
Naturally, life is less fun when you’re hung up on your neighbour’s noisy car muffler, your sister’s gossiping habit or even your own flabby thighs. When you make a point of extending goodwill and forgiveness’and yes, that includes a healthy dose of self-love’you can let go of what makes you grumpy. ‘It sounds corny,’ says Alfa, ‘but the more we can accept ourselves and the people around us, the more we can push the boundaries, and experience joy and laughter in places we didn’t expect to have it.’