Fun, joy, contentment, satisfaction – are you getting enough?
Fun, delight, joy, contentment or simple R&R pleasures? – This is not just about having more fun in your life, but thinking about what brings positive emotions into your life. Sometimes it is about stopping and being aware of and fully immersed in events, activities and emotions as they happen. Sometimes it is about planning in activities that will bring those emotions into your life. Or it is about recognising that behind the tiredness and busyness there is satisfaction, contentment and much more.
Why is fun important? – You might be sat at your desk with a 101 things to do and asking why aren't I writing about something more important than having fun! Well, here are some of the benefits of creating more fun in your life:
- More energy – When we laugh and enjoy ourselves it creates a positive energy. Recently I was running a workshop for managers working in social services. As there was a good rapport in the group and many of them had a well developed sense of humour, there was no afternoon lull in energy, just lots of laughter (as well as serious conversations), and the energy in the room was high and people left saying it was one of the best courses that they had been on.
- More enthusiasm – What are you enthusiastic and passionate about? If you are lucky it is your work, as well as other things in your life. But even though I am passionate about my work, there are always bits of it I might feel less than enthusiastic about. However, we can use our enthusiasm and energy from the positive sides of our life to inject some positive energy into those activities that might not be quite as stimulating.
- More creativity – Our creativity comes from our fun child. We need to be relaxed, open minded in order to get the creative juices flowing. When we are uptight and anxious it is hard for anything creative to come out of us.
- Bonding between individuals – Sharing a joke and/or laughing together does bond people. I always say that you can tell the level of rapport in a team by how much laughter there is, as it is hard to laugh with someone you don't have rapport with.
- More balance – There is more than enough serious stuff in life, so we need to have the fun, enjoyable side in life to provide a balance. With father's day approaching as I write this I am reminded of many lovely father's day lunches I had out with my dear departed dad. In particular the one where Oprah Winfrey turned up in the restaurant which really made our day!
What benefits do you receive when you add more fun into your life?
What else do you want in your life? What delights you? When I thought about writing this Inspire, I realised that it not just about fun, but about other emotions as well, which can sometimes get lost in the busyness of life. Delight and awe came to mind and is demonstrated by a few recent experiences:
- Coming home late one evening a few weeks ago I looked up and there was a perfect man in the moon. It was so clear and delightful and I just stood for a minute gazing up at it.
- Cycling the other day I was delighted to see such beautiful roses growing around so many country cottage gardens it was like something out of a picture postcard.
- I also saw a glider skimming overhead and saw what looked like a hawk over the fields nearby.
- Driving along the motorway and noticing a field of glorious red poppies, which were stunning.
- A fawn leapt across the road as I was out cycling this morning, bringing a big smile to my face!
When did you stop and look at the beauty around?
‘Life moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.' Ferris Bueller
What leaves you feeling content and satisfied? – Last week I had a very busy week, much of it doing three bits of voluntary work. I spent a day at our Buddhist centre working with a team who support the activities of the centre. Then there was a two day problem solving programme for gifted and able students from four secondary schools, which I ran with two associates of mine. The students were delightful, and they got so much out of it, and I went home feeling very content and satisfied with a job well done. Then on the Saturday the environmental group that I belong to put on their third annual Eco Fair where I live. I was on the tombola and pledge tree and it was wonderful seeing how happy people were winning lovely cakes and nosh. I didn't realise you could have so much fun raising money and watching others win things! So even though I was exhausted on Saturday night I was also very happy and content with life.
What activities make you happy and content in life?
‘The human spirit needs to accomplish, to achieve, to triumph to be happy.' Ben Stein
And what about simple R&R? When I was looking up quotes for this edition of Inspire, I came across the following quote from Zelda Fitzgerald…
‘I take a sun bath and listen to the hours, formulating, and sintegrating under the pines, and smell the resiny hardi-wood of the high noon hours. The world is lost in a blue haze of distances, and the immediate sleeps in a think and finite sun.'
As I read it I thought about those times when I have sat in the sun or shade on a sunny day, reading, pondering, being, relaxing. And how important it is to have those times to rest, relax, rejuvenate ourselves. Sometimes it doesn't have to be very long – maybe a snatched half an hour, but much better when the time stretches out before us and there are no demands on us.
When was the last time you had some of those quieter R&R moments? When and where can you have them this summer?
What stops you from having fun, delight and contentment in life?
- ‘Shoulds' and ‘musts' often get in the way of us having fun. For example: ‘I shouldn't go play with the kids because there is so much ironing to be done/the report to be written, the emails to be written, etc.'. Question how much more energy you will have for those tasks if you also have time for the fun things.
- Fear of looking foolish or of rejection, or fearing that if you stop driving yourself forward something will go wrong.
- Your ‘to do list' must come before fun! How about putting some fun things on it? If you don't timetable fun activities in, they will often get squeezed out.
- Trying to do the best for your family, your team, your clients and forgetting your own needs.
- Not asking for what you want and need, thereby overworking yourself and having no energy left for fun.
- Click here for more blocks to releasing your fun child which I outlined in the 2007 edition of Inspire.
‘Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead.' Scottish Proverb
For more information about Inspire Transformation visit our website: www.inspiretransformation.co.uk or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Melanie on Twitter: MelanieInspires.