What do we really mean when we say ‘have fun’?

‘Have fun’ is probably my most overused phrase. I say it to work colleagues when I know they’ve got a particularly tough day ahead. I use it at home when my husband has a daunting meeting to attend that day. I say it because I want them to know that I’m in their corner, that I’ve been there too and I’m cheering them on. But if I sit back and think about it, more often than not, rather than lifting the atmosphere, this phrase is greeted by a half-hearted smile bordering on a grimace and a word of thanks uttered through gritted teeth.
What I really mean by those to words is- see if you can adopt a playful attitude towards whatever comes up. But how often do I apply this to myself, especially in the face of a difficult day?

If we recognised the benefits of playfulness for adults and in particular, those in the therapy professions, it might be a little easier to take on board. A recent survey of psychologists found that 46 percent classed themselves as depressed and 70 percent as stressed. Science tells us that playful adults live on average 10 years longer than those who are less playful and that playful people find fewer situations to be stressful compared to the more serious amongst us. 
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Digging around in the research, there are four main qualities that are said make up a playful adult, including being:

  • Relaxed and free-spirited
  • Fun and lively
  • Spontaneous
  • Creative

I’d like to add the qualities of exploration and flexibility to these too. In future posts, I’ll be blogging about the challenge I’ve set myself to bring these qualities and attitudes into my day-to-day life.

We can also rekindle our relaxed, free-spirited, fun, lively, spontaneous and creative selves by reconnecting with what we enjoyed doing as children. Whenever I think about some of the things I loved to do as a child, I immediately feel lighter and more naturally ‘me.’ As part of my journey, I’ll be blogging about some of my favourite childhood activities too-moving me in the direction of becoming a truly Tickled Shrink!

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