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5 Health Benefits of Having Fun for Adults

5 Health Benefits of Having Fun for Adults

Fun – it’s not just for kids!

What do you for fun?

As a therapist, I ask a lot of questions, but this one stumps people more than most.

I can ask about their traumas, stressors, relationships, jobs, etc, with no problem, they have a lot to say. But when I say “what do you do for fun?”…crickets. They’re speechless. It’s as if I asked them to solve a high level calculus equation.

I see their minds searching for an answer.

Part of them knows this should be an easier question. Some will even wonder how it is relevant to therapy. The few who aren’t stumped by this question are thwarted by the follow up. They may say, oh I love to play tennis, bike ride, read.

Ok great, when is the last time you did any of those…crickets.

I watch as their minds go back in time trying to remember how long it’s been.

If you are a parent you may have heard or read about the importance of play and fun for children, it’s a crucial part of their development. But not many people realize how important it is for adults as well.

Studies have shown that adults need fun, possibly just as much as children.

Especially in our modern, busy, fast paced world of to do lists a mile long, errands, laundry, work and many other responsibilities, fun is needed more than ever, but rarely made a priority. Even the term “adulting” isn’t exactly synonymous with the word fun.

Having fun as an adult is an important aspect to our health, mentally, emotionally and physically.

That is why I always ask my clients about it. We seem to be a world that thrives on busyness and productivity.

However, unstructured time to play, just for the sake of enjoyment and fun, has many benefits.

Here are five benefits of fun for adults:

  1. Lower stress levels-playing releases endorphins which make us feel good and lowers our stress (and there is a long list of how stress affects the body!).
  2. Improved relationships-doing fun activities with friends and family can strengthen those relationships
  3. Improved energy levels-play is restorative which increases energy
  4. Better sleep-moving our bodies more can improve our sleep
  5. Improved brain function-activities such as crossword or jigsaw puzzles can create new connections in the brain and prevent mental decline

Hopefully you’re intrigued and realize fun should be a higher priority in your life.

So now let’s figure out, what do you consider fun?

There’s no set answer for everybody. What I find fun, you may not and vice versa. Part of the fun can be exploring new activities to see what you find fun now and sometimes its returning to pastimes from your younger days.

Do you enjoy board games? Start a monthly game night.

Do you enjoy nature? Look for parks or hiking near you.

I think it’s good to have options, fun things to do at home, activities for being outdoors, social and solo hobbies you enjoy. This way you’ll never be stuck, oh it’s raining so I can’t go for a hike. You’ll have a list of options to choose from. (I’ve included a list of ideas to get you started below.)

My daughter babysits and came home and shared a question the mom asks the daughter when it’s play time. She asked “would you like to play, create or read?”. We were all impressed by this question. It’s seemingly simple, but it helps to break down what type of play she wants to engage in.

Just asking “what do you want to do?” can be overwhelming. I think this is a great question for everybody, adults and children, to ask when deciding what to do for fun. You may use different categories, pending your interests, but it can help you decide what type of fun your mind and body need in that moment.

 So…what will you do for fun today?

If you or a loved one need some support in balancing your life’s work to fun ratio, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Be well (and have fun!)

Possible ideas to start your fun list:

Reading Hiking Picnic
Puzzles Coloring Ziplining
Paint ball Bowling Music (listen/play/learn)
Arts & Crafts Meal w/Friends Board games
Play with animals Sports (play or watch) Bake
Podcast Explore new area Comedy show
Zoo Gardening Beach/lake

Kathy Most
Therapist in Westfield, NJ
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