Everyone has a slightly different definition for fun, but whether you love hitting the town with friends or going for a long hike, research shows that having fun is good for your health, both mental and physical.
Below, you can find five science-based reasons why you should have more fun in your life, and why dedicating at least 30 minutes a day to actualize it is so crucial:
It can improve your relationships.
Adults tend to have their schedules filled with other people’s priorities, which can cause them to miss out on opportunities to engage in prosocial behavior, negatively affecting their relationships. Dedicating just 30 minutes to allow yourself to rediscover fun with a loved one can go a long way in strengthening that relationship.
It’s good for your brain.
Enjoying fun activities that introduce us to new ideas and concepts — like reading a book or playing a game — helps us stimulate our curiosity, engage our imagination, and foster self-directed learning, which can greatly benefit our cognitive function. As a bonus, research has found that reading can help reduce stress.
It can encourage physical activity.
Although exercise may not be everybody’s idea of ‘fun,’ dedicating just 30 minutes a day to physical activity of your choice, such as going for a walk, gardening, or joining a yoga class, can help manage anxiety and stress. Exercise also energizes the release of dopamine, oxycontin, serotonin, and endorphins. This powerful neurochemical combination sometimes referred to as DOSE, plays an important role in regulating our mood and improving brain health.
It makes you laugh.
When seeking ways to have more fun in your life, try to find opportunities for laughter as well. Research shows that those who tend to laugh frequently exhibit fewer negative feelings when stressful situations arise. What’s more, laughter can also help to mitigate feelings of depression and anxiety. You can find opportunities for laughter by simply watching a comedy show or getting together with your funniest friends and relatives.
It allows you to tend to your inner child.
While fun and play often go hand in hand when we are kids, as we age that tends to no longer be the case. The importance of play for adults, however, should not be underestimated — just like play is a crucial part of a child’s development, its utility doesn’t diminish as we grow up. Consider taking an improv class, or, if you have kids, try inventing a game you can play together.