Have you ever heard the old statement “All work and no play makes Jack a dull

Friends Having Healthy Fun

boy?”  Well, if you have, and seriously thought about it, you’ll know that old statement rings so true.  All work and no play for anyone will not only make you, or anyone else dull, but also very unhealthy, too.  Having fun is something we all seemed to stop worrying about when we grew up.  Kids have fun and are happy, that’s all they have to do, other than go to school.  Having fun is a key ingredient in finding How To Be Happy With Life, especially for adults.

As a young adult when we got a busy life going, like going to college, or a job, establishing new relationships, moving to different cities, or countries and making new friends, there was no time for fun in any of that!  And yet, that’s exactly when we most need to focus on the fun, as this writer learned many years ago.

Because without the fun and laughter in most situations, all we’re left with is stress, and anxiety and an increased risk for depression and chronic illness.  What good does that do you?  Just what is fun mean anyway?  Think about this statement for a moment, by George Bernard Shaw,

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

Wikipedia describes fun as,

is the enjoyment of pleasure, particularly, leisure activities.  Fun is an experience often unexpected, informal or purposeless.  It is an

healthy-"sorry-out-to-live"-attitude
Healthy “Out To Live” Attitude

enjoyable distraction, diverting the mind and body from any serious task or contributing an extra dimension to it.  Although particularly associated with recreation and play fun may be encountered during work, social functions, and even seemingly mundane activities of daily living.  It may often have little to no logical basis, and on whether an activity is fun may differ from person to person.  A distinction between enjoyment and fun is difficult but possible to articulate, fun being a more spontaneous, playful, or active event.  There are psychological and physiological implications to the experience of fun.

For more information from Wikipedia on fun, read here.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.

The National Institutes Of Health (NIH) calls laughter it’s “laughter prescription” in one of it’s studies.  According to the study, medical practitioners could begin to help patients get more laughter in their lives.  Quoting the NIH in this study:

Let us begin to consider that, along with eating your vegetables and getting enough sleep, laughter is a sound prescription as a wonderful way to enhance health.

A study published in Europe’s Journal Of Psychology, Dr. Rod Martin, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Western Ontario, studied the various psychological aspects of humor and laughter for over 3 decades, and found that it is favorable to teach individuals to use humor in a beneficial manner to cope with stress and enhance their social and interpersonal relationships.

A study published in the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, “Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health”, found that laughter is a positive sensation, and seems to be a useful and healthy way to overcome stress.  Quoting the study:

the-healthy-happiness-of-life
The Healthy Happiness Of Life

Laughter therapy is a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapies that could make physical, psychological, and social relationships healthy, ultimately improving the quality of life.

Laughter therapy, as a non-pharmacological, alternative treatment, has a positive effect on the mental health and the immune system.

One study done at Georgia State University  used older adults involved in exercise programs and found incorporating simulated laughter into a physical activity program that is focused on strength, balance and flexibility could improve older adults’ mental health, aerobic endurance and confidence in their ability to exercise.  88.9 percent reported the program enhanced their motivation to participate in other exercise classes or activities because it was more fun.

Christian or non-Christian, we don’t want to blow your mind, but did you know proponents of laughter and humor can be traced back to the Christian Bible.  It’s true, Proverbs 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.  Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.

Why does having fun and laughing feel so good?  Laughing with friends, swimming with your dog, watching your favorite old TV show, or reading a book might be called leisure activities, but it’s also fun and pleasurable, releasing feel-good hormones in the brain, and the health benefits associated with some good old-fashioned fun and games are nothing short of incredible.

According to David J Linden, a neuroscience professor at John Hopkins University School Of Medicine, in his book “Compass Of Pleasure“, fun experiences such

friends-enjoying-fun-meal-together
Friends Enjoying Fun Meal Together

as drug use, eating, exercising, sex, and altruism, have similar positive effects on the brain releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Since stress triggers addictive behavior, people should take part in activities that reduce it, like exercise, meditation or prayer, and play, Linden says.

The answer is to take your pleasure widely. Mix your virtues and your vices.

Stuart Brown, founder and President of the “National Institute for Play” and consulting professor at Stanford, says

we’re suffering from a national “play deficit”.

Cuts to recess time in school and ever-increasing academic expectations encroach on play time. And a culture that prizes busyness means that adults have less time to goof off and laugh.

It’s a public health problem,

Brown continued.

Depression, anxiety, and irritability are all symptoms of a lack of relaxation and play.

havinga-healthy-fun-time-on-beach
Having A Healthy Fun Time On Beach

Hopefully, you’re now on board and agree you need to have some fun and play.  But I know you’re probably still wondering, just how do you have more fun as a stressed and busy adult, and what exactly will change in your life if you focus on the fun?

Look, we all feel guilty about it! Right, because if you’re having fun, you must not be working.  But if you’re not playing, everything else doesn’t go as well with your health and well being.  Giving yourself permission to enjoy things makes all of your life fuller and richer.  It’s okay to goof-off sometimes!

Shed some pounds. I know it sounds crazy and kooky, but if you stop using eating food as your number one fun activity because you’re bored, then you have the number one thing that will make you lose weight!  According to this NIH study, eating out of boredom leads to negatively predicted calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumption of less healthy foods or snacks, in oppose to eating something healthy.  Life is about FUN, not food!  If you stop thinking about food, and instead focus on having fun, the weight falls off.  We use food as our fun because we’re too busy and stressed to think of creative alternatives.

Food, especially unhealthy junk food, is just so darn easy to rely on, cheap and readily available, and tastes really good.  When we have chocolate or a hit of sugar, the dopamine response in our brain really does feel pretty darn fun, so it’s just as good, right?  Except for the added pounds and the unwanted cycle of guilt and shame and the damage all that junk food is doing to our health and well being.   We simply have to change our lifestyle of fun priorities, as this National Institutes Of Health study confirms.

Stress be gone. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, or the fight or flight hormone,  jumps to

couple-having-healthy-fun
Couple Having Healthy Fun

uncontrolled levels when we’re stressed. Cortisol is intended to save our lives in a do-or-die situation; however, at low levels of stress, such as when there’s nothing to fight or flee from, cortisol can cause weight gain and can even inhibit the body’s ability to fight off infection and heal itself. Having fun and taking the time to play games reduces cortisol levels, which leads to an increase in serotonin levels.

Oh yes, serotonin, the feel-good hormone, regulates many of our most basic bodily processes, such as sleep patterns, memory, body temperature, relaxation, and mood. Fun free games will make you really laugh and enjoy yourself.  Did you know that even the actual physical act of laughing is good for you? When you laugh, you breathe with your diaphragm, which stimulates the cleansing of the lymphatic system, helping to eliminate toxins and harmful substances.

Energy booster. Having fun and enjoying leisure activities can also help boost your energy levels. Stress and pain are both mentally and physically draining. Taking the time to relax, “lighten your load” and reduce stress, enjoy yourself, and spend time with others doing activities that are fun and make you laugh and feel like yourself can help you feel less tired, more mentally awake, and more capable of everyday responsibilities.

A University Of Nebraska study looked at the impact of humor on energy, tension, and tasks. Eighty-one college-age men and women were randomly assigned to watch a 12-minute video of Bill Cosby’s humor or to watch a non humorous control video that analyzed the Cosby comedy routine. The humor condition resulted in significant increases in feelings of energy but not in feelings of tension.

Enhanced memory and concentration. The reduced cortisol levels

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Healthy Fun Walk Together

and increased serotonin levels that come with having fun mean you’ll enjoy a clearer mind and better memory. We all know the feeling of running on autopilot, or becoming forgetful when a particularly stressful situation is troubling us. The same phenomenon occurs on a lower-level when it comes to stress.

Regularly taking the time to relax and play reduces low-grade stress levels and frees up mental energy. A British Cohort Study of 17,000 adults born in 1970, revealed reading for enjoyment improved our language skills, and even better, our math ability. Research has also shown, reading or watching funny videos or movies for fun can protect you against cognitive decline, as you age.

An NIH study reviewed A Loma Linda study of older adults watching funny videos of Red Skelton or America’s Funniest Home Videos, and determined that humor can have clinical benefits and rehabilitative implications and can be implemented in programs that support whole-person wellness for older adults. Learning ability and delayed recall are important to these individuals for a better quality of life, when considering mind, body, spirit, social, and economic aspects.

Find the REAL YOU deep inside. Rediscover yourself because you’re in there deep down inside you somewhere, just waiting to come out. Probably the things you were most passionate about as a child are the best places to start when you look at what you find fun to do. Did you play dress up or make believe, as a kid? Maybe you love sports. Did you love to draw, sing, build models? Maybe you should join an art class, a band, or start a workshop. Tap into your inner child and he or she will reveal more to you than you ever would expect.

Counting sheep. Spending time laughing, playing, relaxing, or

healthy-activity-for-sleep
Healthy Physical Activity For Sleep

participating in enjoyable leisure activities can also help you sleep more soundly. 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. The Americam Psychological Association found that 33% of the people with lower stress are much more likely to report excellent quality sleep, in oppose to only 8%, who said they didn’t.

In another Japanese study reviewed by the NIH, breast-feeding mothers with atopic eczema (AE) viewed videos which made them laugh, the effect of feeding with breast milk after laughter on allergic responses in infants was studied, as well. Results showed laughter increased the levels of breast-milk melatonin (sleep hormone)in both mothers with AE, and feeding infants with increased levels of melatonin-containing milk reduced allergic responses in infants. Quoting the study:

Thus, laughter of mothers may be helpful in the treatment of infants with AE.

Reunite with old friends. Who doesn’t want to have more fun? And fun is always better with company. Maybe you’ve isolated yourself a bit from old friends lately, that can and will happen when you stay at home all the time. You have to reconnect with those friends. They make life fun and rekindle that desire in you too! A Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier.

Over the years, researchers have studied the participants’ health trajectories and their broader lives, including their triumphs and failures in careers and marriage, and the finding have produced startling lessons, and not only for the researchers. The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.

Taking time to enjoy activities and conversations with friends gives us a sense of connection, usefulness, and meaning that can be more powerful than any prescription. On this new mission, choose a fun activity that doesn’t have anything to do with food or a comparison activity. Do something different and exciting, like indoor rock climbing together, or take a dance class, or sign up for a beginners’ photography workshop. Ask for your friends’ input; they may have even more ideas!

Reason to look forward to each day. For those of you who are

healthy-looking-forward-to-each-day
Healthy Looking Forward To Each Day

really stuck in the emotional eating cycle, you should have something to anticipate every day. At the risk of overwhelming you, at least look at lining up something really fun and different, particularly, on the weekend. Catch an amateur theater show or some live comedy, or book a quick 30-minute massage or manicure.  Practice “visualization meditation” (1) to unlock the potential for tomorrow 10 minutes before you want to fall asleep.

Embrace self-love. Pamper and spoil yourself, as long as it’s done in moderation, you’ll be okay. You choose to use food to treat yourself more often than you realize, and while we love the idea of treating yourself and showing yourself love, I want you to choose an activity that only has positive side effects, no negatives, like getting fat from eating too much chocolate.  According to Mark Twain…..

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval…

Take the time to consider what you find rewarding and luxurious, and do that!  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 consistently lower stress, positive feelings, better sleep, better coping abilities, and loving yourself, which leads to also, improved relationships.

Loving is truly the best way to make sure you’re having a blast in this life.  Or, Why not try laughing at yourself?  That will always bring a laugh!  An NIH study examined a group of people’s reactions to funhouse mirror images of themselves. The findings revealed that those who laughed most frequently at images of themselves also showed fewer signs of negative emotion.  So DO it!

Find creativity. So, you say you aren’t creative? Well, you are

healthy-fun-with-family-outdoors
Healthy Fun With Family Outdoors

creative in some unique way, you just need to find it, or rekindle it, and have fun with it! Luckily, creative activities are literally therapy for your mind. Whether it’s writing, baking, gardening, sewing, or playing music, a creative outlet can really improve your mental clarity.

A study published in the Journal Of Psychology, 658 volunteers were asked to keep a diary for 13 days, rating how creative they had been over the course of the day and describing their overall mood. Creativity was defined as coming up with new ideas, expressing oneself in an original way or spending time engaged in artistic pursuits. A clear pattern emerged in the diary entries. Immediately after the days participants were more creative, they said they felt more enthusiastic and energized. In other words, they were flourishing more.

This finding suggests a particular kind of upward spiral for well-being and creativity,

Dr. Tamlin Conner, a psychologist at New Zealand’s University of Otago and the study’s lead author, said.

The beauty of creating is that it doesn’t have to be elaborate or groundbreaking. It can be just about whatever you want, as long as it’s unrelated to work inside or outside the home. Using creativity in daily activities is shown to be very effective in reducing stress and anxiety, increasing brain function, improves mood, reduces brain degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, and bring you overall wellness.

Opt for nutrition. Eating well-balanced nutritious-dense foods will be loads of fun, because you will feel great physically, mentally, and emotionally, as you and your body are meant to live and how nature intended it to be. No more negative, unhealthy side effects from eating fast foods, fried fatty foods, high starches, and processed foods, which may taste good at the time, but end up being no fun at all in the long run.

Eating a nutritious diet high in proteins consisting of lean, organic grass-fed finished or free-range red meats and poultry, and free-range eggs, and grass-fed finished dairy (A); cold-water or wild-caught fish and seafood (A), organic high-fiber, complex carbs, and whole grains, natural fermented foods, antioxidant drinks, polyunsaturated oils, and antioxidant rich dark chocolate (A); fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. (A)  All of the above foods which are high in omega-3s, antioxidants, amino acids, anti-inflammatories, and full range of vitamins and minerals, will have you laughing and smiling, and having fun, and living life to the fullest..

Spice it up. You think aging means adopting a diet of bland,

healthy-nutrient-rich-mediterranean-diet
Healthy Nutrient Rich Mediterranean Diet

boring foods?  Think again!  You’re better off spicing up your dinner plate with herbs and spices (A) such as turmeric, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, and ginger.  The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can slow down the aging process and promote positive health in a variety of ways.  Several studies have found that an antioxidant in turmeric might extend your lifespan.

As this National Institutes Of Health (NIH) study confirms, rosemary, or rosemarinic acid (RA) produces compounds called hetero cyclic amines that help reduce risk of cancer. Quoting the NIH study,

RA have been shown to have various potent and effective anticancer properties. However, more systematic studies are required in animals before human studies are initiated.

Cinnamon may help lower blood sugar and fight diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.  Cinnamon, in addition, is effective with factors associated with related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and cancer. Ginger can promote attention span and memory and enhance cognitive function.  Oregano has one of the highest antioxidant ratings, containing rosmarinic acid that supports immune system health.  And while we’re on the subject of spicing up food, let’s look at some fun ways to experiment with nutrition-dense foods and supplementation.

Supplementation.  Now, if you really want to know How To Be Happy With Life, or have some unbelievable fun in your life,

fresh-nutritious-adaptogen-peruvian-Maca-root
Fresh Nutritious Adaptogen Peruvian Maca Root

supplement with the all-natural, nutrient-dense, super food, Adaptogen, Peruvian Maca?  Peruvian Maca will supply you with additional high protein, high fiber, full-range of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, antioxidants, full-range of omega3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatories, carbs, full-range of amino acids, sterols, and plant bio active phytonutrients, for added assurance in maintaining your body in optimal health and wellness.  And, watch your body jump for joy.

You want true fun, supplement with Peruvian Maca!  Peruvian Maca has a sweet and pleasant butterscotch flavor, which makes it easy to add to everyday nutritious drinks and foods.  Let’s have a little fun with a couple of Peruvian Maca recipes.

Fun Maca Recipes

Dark Chocolate Maca Fruits Bites. Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 10 minutes, Serving size: 2 to 4

Ingredients and supplies:

healthy-chocolate-maca-fruit-bites
Healthy Chocolate Maca Fruit Bites

1-bar dark chocolate, 72% or more-2.8 ounce

2-tsp peruvian maca powder

3-cups of fruit, your choice, washed and sliced

1/4-cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes, roasted

1/4-cup plain nuts, chopped and toasted

toothpicks

waxed parchment paper

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a tray with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Prepare 2 cups of seasonal fruit, such as apple slices, orange slices,
    couple-swinging-healthy-fun
    Couple Swinging Healthy Fun

    bananas, grapes, kiwi, berries, etc. Be sure that the fruit is completely dry after washing them, otherwise the chocolate will not stick.

  3. Create a double-boiler with a small pot and mixing bowl. Add enough water to the pot so the bowl rests lightly on top of the water without it overflowing.
  4. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer – making sure the water does not splash.
  5. Add dark chocolate to the bowl, and once it is completely melted, add the maca powder and stir until dissolved.
  6. Carefully poke each piece of fruit with a toothpick and dip into the melted chocolate, then place onto the wax/parchment paper.
  7. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes or chopped nuts and cool until it hardens. You can also place the tray in the freezer for 1 minute to speed up the process.
  8. Serve or store extras in a sealed container in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week.

Chocolate Maca Raspberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup frozen organic raspberries

healthy-chocolate-raspberry-maca-smoothie
Healthy Chocolate Raspberry Maca Smoothie

Half a banana

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

1/2 tsp maca root powder

1/2 tsp pure vanilla

Spoonful of room temperature, organic coconut oil

1/2-1 scoop protein powder, preferably, a vegan soy-free blend.

Almond milk and water, and use as much as you like to thicken/thin out the smoothie. 1 tbsp chia seeds, add last.

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients in your blender for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy immediately! This recipe serves one and is perfect for breakfast. If you’re making it as a snack, cut the ingredients in half.

Here are more fun Peruvian Maca recipes .   You wanted to know How To Be Happy With Life?   You now have one of the answers.  We certainly hope you’ve had fun reading this fun article, as we have had fun writing it, which covered how doing things that are fun and make you happy, which will improve your overall health and well being.  You don’t think play and fun things have been part of human activity since the beginning of time?  Here’s what Plato had to say about it:

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play then in a year of conversation.

Are you convinced?  Leave your comments and questions below.

(1) Jason Stephenson Video

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