There is no Happiness without Fun and Joy
Happiness should be FUN! To me that statement is just so obvious – but then again I think like an excited little four-year old. Since writing my book Grown-ups Don’t Skip and I have become very aware of a trend toward happiness. There are endless scientific studies on the benefits of happiness, and businesses now even employ chief happiness officers.
And let’s not forget about the movie Inside Out. To me it is the perfect example of what happens when joy gets lost. Without joy there is no happiness and our lives start to fall apart before we even realize it is happening. The movie also has a great lesson about the role of sadness. Bad things happen but as long as you have some joy in your life, the situation will get better. To me you can not have happiness without joy, yet for some reason adults, and especially businesses, forget the value of fun and joy.
Adults like the idea of happiness but they resist the playful and silly emotions attached to it and end up turning happiness into something difficult or frustrating. All of this movement towards a happy life is a very positive thing indeed, however when did happiness become so serious? Happiness is something that is supposed to be full of laughter, smiles and joy so why do we turn happiness into a chore, a task, or another dreaded assignment. You can’t demand that someone be happy and force positive feelings upon them. However, if you can take fun and joyful moments and string them all together, the chances are pretty good that you will end up with a happy and passionate life.
No one wants to play anymore.
I know I wear rose colored glasses and try to see the positive side of things, however, I have recently seen another decline on our fun scale and this time it is seen in our youth. There is a popular surge of teaching rather young kids how to be mindful. Yes mindfulness and youth. Now again, yes it is a positive thing because teaching our kids to meditate, breathe and learn to control their emotions can be a very good tool to learn. Especially since there have been a multitude of articles out there explaining that, because of all of the required testing, our children are now becoming stressed at school! No wonder they need to be taught to be mindful!! The problem is, once again, nothing is fun anymore! Come on people, whatever happened to finger painting and creating something out of nothing. Build it. Smash it. Have fun with it!
I think most of us will agree that the fun has also been taken completely out of sports. The entire industry is about the money and the win. Athletes no longer play the game because they enjoy the sport. Now-a-days they play for money and fame. How many times have we seen our heroes crash and burn because they can’t handle all that pressure. And let’s take it even one step further. Look at all the extreme sports. We have become so competitive and all about pushing the limits that we can’t just simply ride a bike, go out for a stroll, or even enjoy a simple workout. We are being taught at a very young age to push harder, do more, take risks and get results. Playing games and enjoying the moment, even on the playground, seems to be a thing of the past. Sports are no fun to play anymore.
Politics is the same thing. The good guy who wants to do the right thing and stand up for something he believes in often gets destroyed for something that he may have done in his youth. The desire to peacefully express a passionate opinion has become a polarized divide. We are almost forced to choose between avid supporters or an organized mob of hate. People used to hold peaceful rallies that had a feeling of excitement for a good cause. Now-a-days is seems protests have an organized feeling of judgment and fear.
Everything is all so intense.
The decline of fun is even creeping into college life. These days if it’s not drinking to the extreme, it’s casual sex, or “recreational” drug use. When I was in college I learned how to juggle and short sheet a bed but I can’t imagine the college students of today finding fun in something as simple as a harmless college prank. Maybe the lack fun and intense behavior is caused by the stress created from the enormous amount of college debt? Okay, I realize I probably sound like a cranky old grown-up, but if students can’t even experience the fun of youth in college, then maybe fun needs to be put on the endangered species list.
I have a quote in my book that says, “To reach the child within, you must first give it permission to come out a play.” I think that is important because we have become so concerned with being happy that we have forgotten to give ourselves permission to have fun and just play. So let’s all take a moment to visualize something enjoyable in our lives and when you are done with that, get off your butt and go do something fun like skip down the hall with glee! Oh wait, we can’t do that because skipping as an adult is embarrassing, what would other people think? I don’t know – if I saw someone skipping or jumping for joy, maybe I just might think that the person was happy!
Susan Sherbert is author of “Grown-ups Don’t Skip have FUN Be Happy Enjoy Life” and her passion is helping adults get back in touch with their fun of youth. If you can shift your awareness and re-connect with your passion, imagination, and fearless child-like thinking you just may end up with a life you love.