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Last Updated on May 10, 2019

Psychology Explains Why Busy People Should Always Make Fun A Priority In Life

Psychology Explains Why Busy People Should Always Make Fun A Priority In Life

Remember when you were still a kid? A pile of blocks became an opportunity to build the world’s highest tower and swings transformed into rockets on their way to the moon. Your imagination brought you all the fun you needed. When you got let out of class for recess, you didn’t just grumble and march your way out – you ran, jumped and screamed! You were always ready to let loose and have fun. You were spontaneous, imaginative, and willing to take more risks than you do now. For many of us as we grow up, we somehow lose touch with our innate playfulness and get the idea that fun is not an essential part of life. Yet, experts in the field of psychology are siding with kids on this one.

According to Brene Brown, PhD,

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“a critically important component of wholehearted living is play. Play is as essential to our health and functioning as rest (but) spending time doing purposeless activities is rare. In fact for many of us it sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen.”

It’s unlikely that you would go for weeks without sleeping, but so often we can go a week or more without setting aside time for fun. We live in a culture of productivity, where “getting things done” and “proving ourselves” encompasses so much of our time and mental space. If we fail to complete everything on our to-do list, we feel like we are not enough.

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Playfulness makes you perform better.

In Brown’s book Gifts of Imperfection[1]she explains the toxic effects this “not enough” mind-set and discusses her philosophy of “whole-hearted living – a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.” When we play, we take the pressure off ourselves to perform and seem perfect. The world looks brighter, people seem friendlier, and when we return to our work, we feel refreshed. But taking time to play does far more than just make you feel better in the moment.

Playfulness may also make you more attractive.

Researcher Gary Chick proposed that playfulness in adults may be a means of attracting the opposite sex. He found that males see playfulness in females as a sign of “youthfulness” and “health.” At the same time, females view playful males as “nonaggressive” and therefore more approachable.[2] Both genders seem to find playfulness an attractive quality in each other. So if you are still debating about whether to enjoy a bit of fun, consider it preparation for your next date!

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The good news is play can be simple. You don’t need to go to an amusement park or take a two-week vacation to get your essential “playtime.” The key aspects of play are enjoyment, spontaneity, and a sense of fun! In that sense, play can be almost anything as long as you have fun doing it. Think of those ordinary blocks that became something extraordinary when you played with them as a kid. The same can be true of a walk around the neighborhood or a visit to your local bookstore. Whether you want to reduce your stress or attract a special someone, take time each week for some fun!

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] The Gift of Imperfection, Bernard L. De Koven
[2] The Underrated Importance of Being Playful, Bernard L. De Koven

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Lindsay Shaffer

Freelance Writer, Artist, Photographer

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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