3 Steps to More Fun No Matter Your Life Circumstance
Recently, while sitting in meditation, the message that came through loud and clear was for me to shift my focus to having even more fun in my life and to increase my capacity for happiness.
In childhood so much of our time is spent in fun activities, hobbies, conversations with friends, hanging out. We chased our happiness! How often did we decide to have fun on Saturday night and then picked activities that supported that plan. As we got older our focus started shifting to being goal and tasked oriented. We spent all week engaged in tasks we need to get done for work and to keep the household running. Weekends are spent fulfilling obligations and catching up on the chores we didn’t get to during the week. We think that’s the way to get more done and accomplish our goals.
We actually have it all backwards! By spending time doing the things we love to do, by making time to replenish our spirits, we end up being so much more productive. We didn’t come into this world to work until we get too old to enjoy our life. We came here to have fun and then allow the fulfillment of our desires to unfold naturally.
About two years ago, I started making fun my priority. I had gone through a painful break-up and instead of waiting to be happy again before having fun, I decided to have fun first and allow happiness to unfold naturally. Every morning, I would wake up and sometimes through the tears, would ask myself, what can I do today that will bring me some joy? Then, no matter how silly the idea, I pursued it. Belly dancing? Check. Aerial Yoga? Check. Join a Meetup group? Check. Sailing? Check. Sure, some things, like belly dancing, brought me a lot of laughter and awkward moments but did not end up in a new hobby. Others like sailing, turned into lifelong passions. The Meetup group turned into some precious memories and dear friendships.
Here are some fun ways that you can create joy in your life, no matter how you are feeling in the moment.
1. Bring joy to any circumstance
I used to joke with my peers about creating a business centered around the slogan of “putting the fun back into depression.” Why? Because I recognized through my own journey of depression and also in working with other women, that we spend a tremendous amount of time processing and analyzing our pain. We spend precious little time asking ourselves, what steps we could take to create joy in our life. We don’t have to wait for depression or difficulties to leave before we can make room for joy. We can bring joy in and start edging depression out. Often times I’m asked how it is possible to create joy in the midst of depression. It can feel insurmountable. We can however start by taking one step up the ladder, then another, then another. Pretty soon, you look back and you recognize that you are no longer down in the hole. What is one small thing you could do to bring a measure of joy into your day, today?
2. Follow the fun
All too often, we are so trapped in our limiting beliefs that we cannot see any solutions to our problems. We believe there is no way out of the pain. We get stuck. By deliberately choosing not to think about whatever our difficulties are, we allow the possibility of solutions to flow in. How many times have you sat at your computer trying to solve a problem and getting progressively irritated. Only to step away from the computer for a while and when you sit back down, the problem is staring right at you. It’s the same in our day to day life. Take a break, distract yourself, give your brain something fun to focus on. Then after you’ve been sufficiently distracted, you’ll be able to come back to your life with new focus. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Meet some friends for a cup of Chai. Take a nice, long bath. Watch a funny movie. Take some dance lessons. Join a choir. Whatever feels like fun. Follow that path.
3. Measure your progress by how much fun you’re having
Instead of measuring your healing journey by how many breakthroughs you had in therapy or by how much of the past you’ve been able to process, measure your success by how many opportunities at joy you took in any given day. Happiness as much as anything else is a habit. Melancholy, sadness, pessimism are also habit. You get to choose! The more often you practice feeling good, the easier it gets. The more you focus on seeing the fun spots in your life, the more you will see. When was the last time you laughed at your silly pet? When was the last time you laughed out loud at a movie? Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard with friends that your belly hurt? Those moments of happiness don’t fall into your life. They are deliberately created. Did you know that? I never knew that! I never knew I had a choice in the matter. Now that I know, you bet I work as diligently at creating joy as I do on my goals. Together, they are a winning combination to a wonderful life.
We all have goals we want to achieve. We all have difficulties in our life that we want to heal from. But it’s just as important to focus on what would bring us joy and nourish our spirit. There’s tremendous attraction and momentum behind the energy of joy. It’s the way of the universe. That is truly where your power to create a better life resides.