12 Dec 5 benefits having fun has on your health.
There is a reason that everyone shares funny cat videos on facebook. Taking time to do something that makes you happy and brings a smile to your face is invaluable in reducing your stress, improving your ability to cope when stressful situations arise, can boost your energy and improve your sleep. Finding happiness is not limited to watching funny cat videos though. Simple things we take for granted, taking your dog for a walk, playing with the kids,, or just reading a good book all contribute to you living a longer, healthier life.
Taking time to do something that makes you happy and brings a smile to your face is invaluable in reducing your stress, improving your ability to cope when stressful situations arise, can boost your energy and improve your sleep. Having fun gives you an overall feeling of well-being.
1.) Let’s take a look at how having fun can help reduce your stress. When we are under pressure, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol. Anytime we sense “danger” or other stressors our “fight or flight response” is triggered, and Cortisol is released. It’s intended to save our lives in a do-or-die situation; however, even at low levels of stress (when there’s nothing to fight or flee) cortisol can cause weight gain and can also inhibit the body’s ability to fight off infection and heal itself. It’s not possible to avoid stress altogether, but taking time to relax, laugh, or do something fun will reduce cortisol levels thus, help us when stressful situations do arise.
2.) Having fun increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical that naturally regulates many of our most basic processes–including sleep patterns, memory, body temperature, mood, including promoting happiness, relaxation, and the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Serotonin is what gives us that overall sense of well-being. Having fun helps you relax which naturally increases your body’s serotonin levels.
Anything you do to reduce cortisol levels will help you improve your sleep. Taking time to relax or doing something to make yourself smile right before bedtime is especially important, but any fun or relaxing activities during the day will reduce cortisol levels and improve how soundly you sleep.
3.) Benefits of fun can lead to a clearer mind and better memory. Yes, it’s true, reducing cortisol levels and increasing serotonin levels mean your mind will be clearer and your memory better. You may remember becoming forgetful when you were caught in a particularly stressful situation. Forgetfulness is one of the many things that happen when we’re depleted because we haven’t taken time to recharge our batteries. If we don’t take time out for ourselves to have some fun, laugh with friends or just relax with a good book or take a warm bath, we become overloaded with increased levels of cortisol and decreased levels of serotonin.
4.) Want more energy? Having fun will boost your energy levels. Because stress and in some cases, pain can both be mentally and physically draining, having fun can increase your energy levels. Notice when your laughing with a friend or have fun, you feel more alive, less tired, more mentally awake, and more capable.
5.) Having fun gives us a sense of belonging and having meaningful connections with others. I cannot understate the importance of connection and belonging. I am reminded of what Brene Brown, who has spent the last couple of decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy once said, “As psychologists from Maslow to Baumeister have repeatedly stressed, the truth of the matter is that a sense of social connection is one of our fundamental human needs.”
Laughing and smiling can bring a renewed sense of vitality to your health, just like health benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Making a habit of relaxing, engaging in activities you enjoy, and spending time with people who make you happy will yield sustained and increasingly positive benefits of lower stress, positive feelings, better sleep, better-coping abilities, and improved relationships and an overall sense of well-being.
Please join me in my private Facebook group “Living a Fulfilled Life”. Where we connect, with other like minds, through supporting and lifting each other up while we work to restore our health and life.