Are We Having Fun Yet?

What comes to mind for you when you think of Fun? Off the top of my head, I think of:

A lovely cocktail of neurochemicals is released when we’re having fun—neurochemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin.  The flow of these throughout our brain and body make us feel good, think good, and act good. (And yes, I just had fun breaking a few grammatical rules in that last sentence.)

Gamification—the application of game principles in non-game contexts—is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Gamification is growing with good reason:

Fun feels good.

And we like to feel good. The summer season seems to invite us to feel good and have fun. It puts us into planning mode, thinking about vacation destinations and fun activities that will create memories.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget about fun when there are pressing deadlines at work, shortages of resources, or squabbles at home. If we were to be intentional about planning some fun for our day-to-day work, we’d likely feel better, think better, and act better.

Here are three ideas for accessing fun:

  • Novelty: Doing things differently gives us a boost of dopamine. What could you do differently today?
  • Laughter: As obvious as it sounds, look for ways to laugh today. One of my favorites is YouTubing Bob Newhart’s “Stop It” routine … it always makes me smile.
  • People: Find someone to share your laughter with. It not only creates happy neurochemicals for you, it does for the other person, too … spread the wealth.

And, when circumstances feel difficult, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • “Where is the irony in this situation, and how can I smile at it?”
  • “If I were a comedy writer, how would I describe the current situation?”
  • “When it is six months down the road, how might I laugh at this circumstance?”

Have fun creating fun today!

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