In today’s hectic world, prioritizing fun may seem impossible. Yet, it’s crucial for our resilience, happiness, and mental and physical health. Many of us underestimate the importance of fun, often mistaking any leisure activity for genuine enjoyment. True fun, however, is about experiencing playfulness, connection, and flow simultaneously.

Understanding True Fun

Research has identified 3 essential components for experiencing true fun:

Playfulness is a light-hearted approach to life, allowing us to enjoy activities for their own sake. It’s not about playing games but finding joy in everyday moments. Studies indicate that playfulness can be cultivated by actively seeking playful opportunities, leading to better stress management. For example, a playful approach to a mundane task could involve turning a household chore like cooking dinner into a fun activity by experimenting with a new recipe or having a friendly cooking competition with a family member.

Connection is the feeling of having a special, shared experience with someone else. Strong social ties enhance our resilience during tough times. Think of moments when you’ve felt deeply connected with friends or family.

Flow is the state of being fully immersed and focused, often losing track of time. This isn’t the same as mindlessly binge-watching TV, which researchers call “junk flow.” Instead, flow happens during engaging activities like playing sports or immersing in a craft. A study from Wuhan, China, found that flow-inducing activities significantly improved well-being.

Experiencing playfulness, connection, and flow individually boosts our mood and mental health. When combined, they create “true fun,” resulting in a state of presence, freedom from anxiety, and a deep sense of connection to others and ourselves.

Why We All Need to Have Some More Fun

Four Steps to Rediscover Fun

How can we have more true fun? Here’s a four-step plan to help you rediscover more fun in your life.

1. Cut Down on “Fake” Fun
“Fake” fun involves activities that consume leisure time without providing real enjoyment, such as excessive social media use or TV binge-watching. Australians spend on average 4.9 hours on their phones each day. While some of this may be work related, a substantial amount of time is spent on social media platfoms like Tik Tok and Instagram. Identifying and reducing these activities can free up time for genuine fun.

2. Find Your “Fun Magnets
Reflect on past experiences when you truly had fun. Think about moments when you laughed and felt engrossed. What were you doing? Who were you with? These insights will help you identify activities, settings, and people that consistently bring you joy. Everyone’s fun magnets are unique, so focus on what genuinely delights you.

3. Put Fun on Your Calendar
While fun can’t be forced, you can increase its likelihood by prioritizing fun-inducing activities and people. Schedule time for these activities, even if it requires extra effort. For instance, playing music with friends, despite logistical challenges, can create lasting joy.

4. Find Fun in Small Doses
Life’s demands may limit some of your favourite activities, but you can still “microdose” on fun. Engage in small, fun activities daily, such as smiling at a stranger, calling a friend instead of emailing, or trying a new hobby. Notice how these moments improve your mood.

Why Fun at Work Matters

Creating an environment where fun is an integral part of the work culture can significantly enhance employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall workplace morale.

Here are some reasons why:

1. Increased Productivity: Engaging in enjoyable activities can refresh the mind and boost energy levels, leading to higher productivity. When employees are happy, they tend to work more efficiently and creatively.

2. Better Team Dynamics: Fun activities help build stronger relationships among team members. This enhanced camaraderie can improve collaboration and communication, fostering a more cohesive team environment.

3. Reduced Stress: Fun activities can serve as a great stress reliever. Work can be demanding, but taking breaks to engage in enjoyable activities can reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.

Focus on Fun

Prioritizing fun might seem challenging, but it’s worth the effort. Our lives are defined by what we focus on, and by paying attention to fun and its energy, we can enhance our well-being. A simple moment, like sharing a joke with someone, reminds us that even amid difficulties, there are opportunities for fun all around us.

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