The Essential Ingredient Your Healing Plan May Be Missing

Fun dog dressed as a pirateLife, in all it’s wonderfulness, can sometimes feel distinctly un-wonderful. When you are dealing with illness, pain, grief or struggle and all of the problems that can accompany these difficulties like financial challenges, endless forms, distressing symptoms and painful emotions, the wonderfulness of life can get buried under the problems.

You may be managing pain, caring for someone, dealing with a new diagnosis or simply wanting to thrive rather than just survive. In all our efforts, we can work so hard we miss one of the most effective and important aspects of human life: merriment.

Let me ask you, when’s the last time you did something fun?

I don’t just mean something you enjoyed, I mean something that made you laugh so much you didn’t think you were going to stop. Something that made you forget there was anything else in the world.

This feeling can come up when we let ourselves go and be really playful. But (and I don’t really like putting the ‘but’ in, but it’s useful to acknowledge), we often don’t let ourselves be that playful because it seems frivolous in some way. And it is… but that’s okay.

The problem is that if we’re not doing something productive, if we’re not working towards some goal or other, we can feel guilty. It’s as if there’s something inherently wrong with wasting our time. Or that it’s not right for us to be laughing, because we lost someone we love, or we ourselves may become lost. Perhaps we feel we have bigger things to worry about, that there’s simply no space for joy.

At least that’s how it seems.

But time enjoyed is not time wasted. It enriches our lives, makes groovy things happen inside us and, quite simply, it’s fun! And that’s enough.

I think we all have these urges to be silly every now and then. Maybe we’re deeply engrossed in a mundane task and a little voice says “This would be much more entertaining if I finished the job whilst acting like a pirate.”, or “When I’ve finished with these boxes I’m going to use them to build a fort and I’ll design a flag.” But then our ‘grown-up’ voice tells us that we’re grown-ups and that we’re not supposed to do silly things like that.

It can happen so fleetingly that we don’t even realise it. The fun thoughts hardly even get noticed as we focus too quickly on what we need to do.

While our grown-up, reasonable thoughts can allow us to function in life and deal with the practicalities of the day-to-day, our fun and silly thoughts are there to make sure we’re having a good time.

Make sure they get heard.

What’s fun is going to be different for each person, but to get you started, here’s 10 suggestions to instigate fun today:

1. Think up 5 new nicknames for your friend/partner/companion animal or favourite celebrity. Use them in a sentence.

2. Wear a hat for the day. Will you be a backwards baseball cap captain, or a turbaned wonder?

3. Pick an accent and use it for as long as you can, even just inside your own head. How does your shopping list sound in a bad french accent?

4. Write yourself a theme song. Use as needed.

5. Buy a toy from your childhood that evokes fond memories and spend 10 minutes playing with it. Will you choose the scented crayons or the coloured sand?

6. Scrumple up scrap paper and use it to play catch or juggle. Can you do an olympic shot? Remember to recycle afterwards.

7. Wear your favourite clothes, just for fun. See how it feels to dress up. So what if you are wearing beach shorts to sort your meds or a ball gown to sweep up? If it makes you smile, go for it!

8. Get down to the level of plants – outside, or among your house plants and pretend you’re in the jungle.

9. Listen to an audiobook; there’s something fun and soothing about being told a story, and it lets you get extra excited on the scary bits. Read a story yourself and do ALL the voices.

10. Pretend to be a giant. What is the view like from your new height? How would a giant handle the frustrations you are facing? Give out a roar and stamp your giant feet, then smile.

What fun things are you getting up to in day to day life? Tell us on Twitter

Photo Credit: akahodag via Compfight cc