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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 October 17, 2019

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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1. Recognize the Signs

If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

Some telltale signs include:

  • You’re always on your phones.
  • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
  • You aren’t together during important events.
  • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
  • You don’t make plans or date nights.
  • You’re not happy.

If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

2. Try New Things Together

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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5. Cook Meals Together

Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

6. Have a Regular Date Night

Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

  • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
  • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
  • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
  • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
  • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
  • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
  • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

Final Thoughts

The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

  • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
  • Lowers divorce rates
  • Improves communication
  • Reduces marital boredom
  • Bonds couples closer
  • Improves friendship
  • Boosts health
  • Reduces stress

These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

Reference

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