If You Don’t Know How To Have Fun, Read This

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So you think you don’t know how to have fun?

Is that really true?

Or could it be that you regard the fun that others appear to be having, with their grinning faces and the obvious joy that cram their social media profiles, as somehow more valid than your own?

The first thing to acknowledge about having fun is its 100% subjective nature.

The dictionary definition for ‘fun’ is “an activity or situation you think is pleasant and enjoyable and it causes you to feel happy.”

Note the use of the pronoun ‘you’ in this definition; that’s where the subjectivity comes in – it’s all about you and no one else.

What makes you happy may be the complete opposite of what brings a smile to someone else’s face, but that doesn’t mean it’s not pleasurable.

Fact: there’s a guy in Australia who’s been collecting his belly button fluff since 1984.

Now this activity may not be your idea of ‘fun,’ but it clearly brings him joy. Good for him.

If you find yourself looking at others and feeling that the fun factor they’re experiencing is missing from your life, then just stop right there.

What’s happening is that you’re interpreting all the things that others find enjoyable as the only legitimate forms of fun.

There is, as the saying goes, more than one way to skin a cat.

When you ask yourself what it is that other people are doing that is so much ‘fun,’ you’re probably thinking of them going to a baseball game or any other sporting event, partying with their friends, or catching their favorite band at a concert.

Pretty much anything that involves social interaction, a fair bit of noise, and maybe a bit of adrenaline thrown in for good measure.

But maybe you’re less of a social butterfly and more of a lone wolf, and such things wouldn’t bring you joy, even if you did have the opportunity to get stuck in?

Which brings us to our first big piece of advice…

Beware of comparisons.

Stop comparing yourself with others. Right now. That way danger lies.

Sadly, though, the tendency to compare ourselves with others has been a human failing since the dawn of time.

And the trouble is, today’s plethora of social media, allowing us to feast our eyes on all the ‘fun’ being had by our friends and the celebs we follow, has taken this deeply negative habit to the next level.

Everyone seems to be having a whole lot more fun than we are!

Remember, though, they’re only putting stuff out there which makes them look good, so plenty of shots of them ‘having fun’ are part of the package.

So what you’re doing is comparing your reality with others’ edited highlights.

Pointless, yes?

And accordingly it makes no sense as a benchmark for calculating the level of ‘fun’ others may or may not actually be experiencing in their lives.

Fun is subjective (it’s worth repeating).

Fun doesn’t have to be all-singing, all-dancing hilarity and action.

Far from it.

Fun is finding an interest so absorbing that you are able to drift away into a parallel world, leaving everyday cares behind.

And that is specific to you and only you.

It really doesn’t matter whether you have a video gaming habit or a passion for puzzles…

Whether you spend hours under the hood of a car or geek out on techie stuff…

Whether you lose yourself in a crafting project or writing poetry…

Or even if you spend happy moments collecting your navel fluff.

If an activity captivates your thoughts and imagination to the exclusion of all else, with no space for everyday cares and stresses, then that is your way of having fun.

Embrace it, enjoy it and quit wasting mental effort on comparisons with your friends or anyone else.

The old phrase, ‘each to his own’ is as true right now as it ever was.

Don’t stress about what others think.

Along the same lines as the pointlessness of comparing yourself with others, there’s little point in worrying overly about how they perceive you.

You think that people regard you as lacking the fun factor, but you don’t know that for sure, right?

There are few things more limiting than constantly viewing yourself through the eyes of others and behaving accordingly.

Why? Two reasons…

First, people tend to be pretty self-obsessed and focus less on others than you might imagine, so you probably barely register on their radar.

Second, you actually have no idea whatsoever what they’re thinking, so adjusting your behavior based on such supposition makes no sense.

And anyway, what others think of you is largely irrelevant.

It may help you to try adopting the attitude of a German friend of mine. In any situation where she feels she’s being judged for something she’s said or done is to exclaim ‘Bu**er zem!’

In a heartbeat, she successfully flips the situation on its head, so the onlookers are the ones with the problem, not herself.

It takes a while to develop such an attitude, but it’ll pay dividends if you can pull it off.

Open up some new opportunities for fun.

Of course, it could be that the reason you feel you’re lacking in the fun department is that you’re stuck in a bit of a rut.

You’re tired of the same old, same old.

Here are a few suggestions for bringing more fun into your life…

Finding a new hobby may be the answer to spicing up your routine and giving you a new focus.

You’ll soon feel your stress levels fall and your capacity for the elusive ‘fun’ will improve too.

You could try a new solo sport like jogging, swimming, or yoga, or learn a new skill like crochet, speaking Spanish, or maintaining your car.

Discover how green your thumbs are by digging a patch to grow veggies or lose yourself in origami.

Channel your thoughts by writing a journal, or by writing short stories or poems – sure, you may not be Stephen King or J K Rowling, but your efforts need only to please you and nobody else.

If you possibly can, leave that oh-so-cozy comfort zone behind and do things that are out of character, things you never thought you would.

Try different cuisines from around the world, read a classic novel you’ve never gotten around to, get outdoors and commune with nature, visit an art gallery or museum you’ve never been to before.

Shift your mindset.

Another important element in improving your capacity for fun is to adjust your mental attitude.

Think more positively.

When the news networks bombard us with bad news 24/7, it’s all too easy to feel we’re in a vacuum where there’s no place for fun.

My advice is to stop right now obsessing over all this stuff that you can’t control and try to embrace positivity instead.

This won’t be a quick fix, but the more you practice, the better you’ll feel, and your capacity for fun will start to return.

Be grateful for the good things and good people in your life.

Try to focus on the best-case outcome instead of the worst.

Fight negativity with the power of positive thinking.

Stress is the biggest barrier to fun.

Another piece of the fun puzzle, and strongly linked to the above point, is to de-stress and focus on your mental well-being.

How can you have fun if you’re wound up like a coiled spring and constantly sleep-deprived?

Meditation or even long contemplative walks are a great way of relaxing your mind.

Practicing mindfulness is another great way to shift your thoughts away from the negative c**p, where all your capacity for fun is replaced by fear and foreboding.

As the legendary cartoonist Bill Watterson put it, “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

A regular massage is another fabulous tension-buster, as is daily exercise – a mere 30 minutes each day will make the world of difference to your mental attitude to pretty much everything.

Get into a regular sleeping/waking routine to boost your energy levels and your day-to-day resilience.

It’s a no-brainer that practicing yoga is a great way to de-stress, along with a whole heap of other health benefits, but have you heard of Laughter Yoga?

It’s simple to do, either in a class or on your own, and you’ll find you rediscover those under-used laughter muscles and give them a great workout.

Laughter yoga has been proven to reduce stress as well as encouraging a brighter and more positive outlook.

Join a local class if you can find one or learn how to do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.

Make time for fun.

Although it may seem an odd and unnecessary thing to do, it’s a great idea to set aside some fun time in your weekly schedule.

In these frenetic times, it’s just too easy for the days to fly by in a dizzy whirl of work and chores, so the essential fun factor can easily be missed out.

Hence, it does actually make sense to schedule in ‘fun time’ each day, or at least once a week.

This allows you to get off the hamster wheel and do something to please yourself instead of pleasing others.

To sum it all up…

When all is said and done, you may not be a Tigger, bouncing and trouncing about the place with evident joy (and maybe being just a teensy bit annoying), but neither are you an Eeyore.

You’re probably more of a Pooh, taking deep pleasure in the simpler and quieter things in life and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love Pooh bear?

As long as it’s safe and legal, then whatever activity brings you pleasure and allows you to escape from the daily grind is your version of ‘fun.’

You’re probably having more of it than you’d realized. As the literary legend, Walt Whitman, succinctly put it: “Do anything but let it produce joy.”

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About The Author

Working as a freelance copywriter, Juliana is following a path well-trodden by her family, who seem to have 'wordsmithing' in their DNA. She'll turn her quill to anything from lifestyle and wellness articles to blog posts and SEO articles. All this is underpinned by a lifetime of travel, cultural exchange and her love of the richly expressive medium of the English language.