Saturday, May 31, 2014
The Happiness Project - May
I know this is the end of May so I am a little late in posting this month's chapter on the happiness project.
May's focus was on fun. Be serious about play is what Gretchen says. Ok be serious about play doesn't that sound a little weird fun is supposed to be just that fun not serious. Well after I read through this chapter I understood what she meant. For some people me included fun can be a little harder to find. For me I want to have fun but sometimes I find I take the fun out of things. I worry about being on time, making sure everyone else is happy, and so on. In other words, I get myself worked up and end up stressing instead of letting loose to have a little fun in life. Who cares if you are a few minutes late and you can't make everyone happy so enjoy yourself.
Here are the four tips that Gretchen gives us to get serious about fun -
Find more fun - One important thing to remember here is that just because something is fun for someone else does not mean it is fun for you and vice versa. Think about what you find fun in your life, for some like Gretchen she found that reading children's books is fun, for me I have fun reading in a very quiet place with no sounds but what nature provides. As for what else I find fun I have to figure that out still. There are things I think of that would be fun to do but then I change my mind, I need to stop doing this and just go have fun.
One good suggestion that Gretchen had that I want to start doing is start with a blank book. In this book put clippings, memorabilia, notes, pictures or anything that you can think of that is fun to you or makes you happy then you can look back on a not so fun day to remember the fun happy times. If you don't like the book idea - get a box and fill it with mementos, trinkets and notes of things that remind you of a time you had fun and then you can revisit those memories whenever you choose to. Don't make this a chore just have fun with it
Take time to be silly - This is hard for me as I don't like to be silly, I feel like people will stare and judge me if I act silly. An example that Gretchen used for this was one day her kids were being silly when putting groceries away - she just wanted to hurry and get it done but then thought what would it hurt to be silly while doing this chore. This is a very good example and we can all learn from it. Take time to be silly.
Go off the path - Go to new places, try new things be adventurous "go off the path". I would love to make some friends and join a book club. So for me to do this I would have to go off the path which is so not me. I need to be more open and try to talk to people I do not know, go to a book club meeting and see how I like it, look for a group that has similar interests as me and go have fun with them. Another suggestion from Gretchen is to go to the bookstore and pick up three magazines at random each week and read them from cover to cover to experience something new. I am thinking of trying this myself only tweeking it a little and do one a week. Matthew Arnold wrote "All knowledge is interesting to a wise man" this is a good thing to live by and the more you learn the better you are.
Start a collection - I am a little bit of a collector as I have a large collection of bookmarks and postcards that I have been collecting over the years. While I love my collection of each of these and like to look back on them as some of them hold good memories for me, I would like to start a new collection. Now your collection does not have to be huge and take over your life but make it something fun. I enjoy a lot of different things like lighthouses, animals, and the Green Bay Packers, but do I want a collection of these things, probably not. I would like to collect some lighthouses as they fascinate me. I want my new collection whatever it may be to be fun, nice, and not to take over my house. Make your collection meaningful to you.
Another Gretchen said in this chapter was that fun fall into thee categories:
Challenging fun - this can be the most rewarding type of fun for you, but also the most demanding. The more work you put in the more fun you get out of it.
Accommodating fun - an example of this is a family trip, you plan fun for your family and enjoy yourself as well. Accommodate others fun while trying to have fun yourself.
Relaxing fun - this is the most easy type of fun to have. No skills or action requesting, no coordination or preparation involved. Just have fun.
Research has shown that challenging and accommodating fun bring more happiness over time because they make people the happiest. The more you put into it the more you get out of it. Even though relaxing fun is fun - it is maybe only fun for the moment.
So I challenge you to be serious about fun. Learn to have fun in your life. You will find you are a happier person.