WASHINGTON November 24, 2012 - As an element of good mental and emotional health, fun does not get the respect it deserves. We can connect with others, learn, and get physical exercise while having fun, not that we always do.
People in a fun mood attempt to make whatever is happening amusing or enjoyable. They frequently infect others with playfulness and that is good for our health. You cannot simultaneously have fun and be stressed-out.
Better health is why everyone needs to get serious about spending more time in play.
Activities that are fun can leave us laughing, expansive, blissful, satisfied, amused, lighthearted, excited, thrilled, tickled, happy, released, or joyful. No wonder childhood is a special time. For children, life is fun. They learn and grow as they play, imagine, create, and experiment, at least until they get into school.
Our public education system mistakenly cultivates the rational mind more than the intuitive mind. As Albert Einstein succinctly put it, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Some may think that honoring our creative imagination would turn the world into an orgy of irresponsible fun. That is unlikely since we have a rational mind that will insist we remain responsible as we play. Even if our rationality fails us, it is hard to imagine irresponsible fun would be worse than the current climate of irresponsible tedium.
Maybe the reason we have to make our lives meaningful is that we have forgotten the meaning of life is to have fun. Being playful and laughing with others creates healthy relationships and builds community. It is a way to share the enjoyment of life. When people list their regrets they never say, “I am so sorry for the time I spent having fun with my kids.”
It is even possible that time seems to go faster as we age because adults have less fun than kids. Having read other theories about time and aging, this possibility is just as plausible. We usually have clear memories of life’s painful moments, but we also remember life’s most fun and joyful times. Memorable experiences keep one year from blending uneventfully into the next.
What started this whole chain of thought is Christmas, and remembering how time moved achingly slow when there were gifts under the tree. Although a few of the wrapped packages held new clothes (boring) you knew there were toys waiting as well.
Toys are more fun to receive because you play with them. This is why technology is so popular. It is amazing, fun, and you can open a new app to play with everyday. Technology makes learning more enjoyable as well. Acquiring math skills with interactive games beats filling out worksheets of problems any day.
If you have not purchased your favorite adults a holiday gift yet, consider getting them a toy.
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