Tag Archives: have fun

Why fun is essential

 

person laughing photo

Why fun is essential

Did you know that relentless stress actually changes your brain chemistry? Prolonged stress leads people to begin to feel helpless and powerless. Their body tires from constantly being in “fight or flight” mode and it can lead to health issues too.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting how stress affects us negatively. The more stress we cope with for long periods, the more likely we are to develop anxiety, depression and even panic attacks. It’s our body’s way of sending us a message that we desperately need time out.

It’s a modern epidemic – people who work crazy long hours and rarely take regular breaks. The constant strain becomes familiar and turns in to a pattern of behaviour that is damaging but also familiar, thereby reinforcing itself. There is a subtle pressure to work hard, achieve and be successful although society pushes us towards unhealthy goals. We believe that working hard is admirable, that putting in overtime makes us committed. I think it makes us look like fools who believe we are valuable when we ‘do’ instead of understanding we are valuable just ‘being’. I am not saying we should all become lazy lay-abouts but balance is healthy and MANY do not have any balance in their lives.

Fun is absolutely essential for balance in life – balance externally and balance internally. The body begins to shut down when confronted with ongoing stress.

Look at it this way: It’s rather like the keys of a piano being hit so hard that the impact puts the strings out of tune. The piano still plays, but it plays dif­fer­ently. While another hard hit on the keys might have bro­ken a tuned piano wire, the now — slack wire can with­stand another hit … and another. If the hits are even harder, the wire stretches more. You can almost hear the piano (and the brain under acute stress) say­ing, “Go on, hit me again! I can take it.” But the cost is that both are out of tune and the melody is never quite the same.  In the human ner­vous sys­tem, this kind of adjust­ment or adap­ta­tion pro­tects the brain from harm by chang­ing the way it responds to stress. Perry and Pol­lard point out that repeated expo­sure to stress — chronic stress — results in a new way of cop­ing with a con­tin­u­ous stres­sor, but it is less effec­tive.  Not a good thing.

In a series of experiments, Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology, and her colleagues, including graduate students Sundari Chetty and Aaron Freidman, discovered that chronic stress generates more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons than normal. This results in an excess of myelin – and thus, white matter – in some areas of the brain, which disrupts the delicate balance and timing of communication within the brain.

It is clear to me that modern life is changing us. We are more cranky and depression and anxiety are increasing. This problem is compounded by the fact that mental illness and stress are not taken as seriously as obvious health problems such as a broken leg or cancer.

I believe that many of our health conditions can be improved by looking at mental health as a primary source of many health issues. People drink alcohol excessively and find means to escape stress that are unhealthy such as gambling and drugs. There is not enough emphasis on stress relieving techniques that can be offered by mental health professionals to help people cope better. Instead we have a planet where everyone is stressed out and doesn’t know who to turn to or how to self soothe in healthy ways.

One of these ways is to make time for fun. Listen to happy music, go for a dance. Skip for a few minutes..do something silly. Take regular holidays. Play. Climb a tree…do whatever works for you but make time to be less serious. If you cannot switch off your serious side, it may be time to get help from a counsellor/psychologist who can show you how to get your fun side back.

Fun is underrated but it may just save you from a ‘cortisol-pickled’ brain that definitely won’t help you to achieve your true potential.

Mandy X

 

Photo by marc kjerland

 

Refs:

http://sharpbrains.com/blog/2011/11/14/the-neurobiology-of-stress-the-human-brain-likes-to-be-in-balance/

http://news.berkeley.edu/2014/02/11/chronic-stress-predisposes-brain-to-mental-illness/

Fabulous Life Tips

 happy life photo

 

Fabulous Life Tips

 

Follow these fabulous life tips and you’ll find ways to be happier, calmer, more in tune with yourself and fulfilled…

 

The power is in the present

Did you know that when you focus too much on the past or the future, it can be the greatest cause of your misery? Try to find happiness in the moment instead of assuming it is somewhere else – like the past or still to be found in the future. The more you find happiness in the present moment, where life is now, the greater you sense of happiness and fulfilment. The moment of power is the moment of experience and that can only happen right now. Joy, happiness, peace- can all be found now. Don’t fool yourself into believing happiness is lurking in the future. You waste precious life moments/opportunities thinking this way.

Make friends and family a priority

Feeling connected to others can be one of the most fulfilling experiences. A holiday, new purchase for the home or a new experience is always better when it’s shared. Make an effort to be the most loving version of you and you will receive it back in bucket loads.

Self Acceptance

When you like yourself you stop focusing inwards and begin to enjoy life more. You use your skills and abilities to explore life rather than obsessing about how you look and what others think. Give up the insecurities, others are more concerned about their own issues. Be proud that your body works for you every day, helps you to move around and communicate – it really is awesome.

Figure out what you want

Ask yourself these 4 questions:

1) What do I want?

2) What must I do to have it?

3) How would I feel when I have it?

4) So what I want is to feel………………

Repeat again to go deeper and figure out what lies beneath the superficial. You may see that what you want is the feeling something gives you rather than the object itself…can be very enlightening.

Stop playing it safe

Staying in a dead end job or a miserable relationship means that you are allowing fear to dominate your life. Imagine looking back over your life and feeling you never took enough risks. Be brave, try out life and see where it leads. Playing it safe leads to resentment, powerlessness and underlying anger. Find ways to step out more, take baby steps but try living a little more.

Happiness is something within you, it is a feeling that isn’t available to only a select few. Choose your thoughts and your interpretations wisely and you can live a happier life instantly.

Mandy X

 

 

 

Liven Up Your Life

fantasy_door-wide

 

Liven up your life

Wacky ways to have more fun over the next week or so…

1) Do a jig in your bedroom whilst you’re getting dressed. Preferably to fun, mood enhancing music. (Singing into your hairbrush -additional optional extra)

2) Give yourself a toothpaste moustache while you brush your teeth – I swear it’s good luck 😉

3) Give your pet a big kiss…tongues optional (ew)

4) Eat a really hot curry – great way to detox or clear out your sinuses

5) Sleep in a onesie

6) Skip. It doesn’t matter where or for how long :- it re-invigorates the soul and promotes cheerfulness

7) Wear an item of clothing inside out and see if anyone notices.

8) Stick a piece of lettuce in your teeth and watch how people react

9) Wear a wig

10) Wear clashing colours for the day

11) Speak with a lisp while doing a handstand

12) Smile at every third stranger you see. Count how many smiles you get in return and let us know below in the comments!

13) Bake a cake and put a rude inappropriate word in icing on the top. If you’re really brave – give it to school for the fete 😉

14) Go to the local shopping centre in roller blades

15) Put a fake update on Facebook. eg: had all my teeth out this morning, still getting used to my falsies

16) Chuck salt over both your shoulders

17) Do the moon walk on the school run, or in the checkout queue

18) Wear a balaclava

19) Shout “Pringles” loudly and randomly in public. Works wonders on a crowded train!

20) Go into the Pound Shop. Pick up random items and ask how much they cost.

 

Well, if that doesn’t keep you out of mischief and liven up your life,  I don’t know what will. I am still working my way down the list 😉

 

Mandy X

Have fun

Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter is the best medicine

Sometimes when I watch the news I find myself strangely detached from it all. A serious looking reporter is talking about the new budget or someone is in a rage over misplaced bureaucracy. I am not making light of serious issues such as poverty, war and famine but we can still be effective in improving the world irrespective of whether we have a wholesome, happy and compassionate attitude or an aggressive, serious, “let’s get revenge and get mad” attitude.

I do believe that some people take themselves far too seriously and forget about perspective. We can all get too caught up in the moment and lose our sense of humour, this is a given but it pays to be more aware of when we can lighten up and decrease our stress and tension levels.

Here are some silly, tongue-in-cheek ways to take life less seriously.

1) Skip to work. Okay this may be a bit extreme for some but it REALLY does work. I work from home so don’t get many opportunities to skip but being silly every now and then (I make silly faces and talk in strange voices to my dog) makes a difference, affects brain chemistry and allows us a different, friendlier view of the world. Perhaps it takes a pinch of insanity but I believe we all have a little bit of crazy (in the nicest possible way) in us.

2) Play loud music, sing along loudly. This is a great way to relieve tension. Singing along loudly in traffic so that others can see your tonsils is great too because it takes a little guts to do this and gives us a confidence boost when we act against protocol. Being ourselves in the face of possible judgement or criticism is incredibly liberating.

3) Make a mess. We’re conditioned to eat with our mouths closed and keep our environments neat and clean. Well, for once I am giving you permission to make a mess! Eat with fingers if you wish, bake a cake and stick your fingers in the chocolate. Get gooey.

4) If you go near lifts, press every button as you get in. Take pleasure in the fact that you are forced to slow down..what’s the rush anyway?

5) Walk barefoot more often

6) Play with children or animals. Letting your inner child out is a great way to relieve stress. We are so conditioned to act like respectable adults and most of us welcome the opportunity to be a bit silly and have some fun.If you find it hard to chill out and be a bit childlike you may have suppressed this side of your personality for too long.

7) Leave a post-it in a lift or at a bank cash machine wishing someone a happy day. Spreading goodwill is a fantastic mood booster.

8) Smile at a stranger. Most people will return the smile and you can congratulate yourself for spreading a bit of positivity in the world

9) Laugh often…watch a funny move. Have a look at YouTube..do something that you enjoy and that makes you happy.

There are so many ways to have fun, lighten up and see the funny side of life. Do a mood check every now and then.Rate yourself from zero to ten. Zero = angry and serious, ten = happy go lucky. If you are a five or under -find a system to lighten up. It is better for your heart and for your health in general.

Mandy X

Still feel child-like in my forties

The child inside all of us

The child inside all of us

 

There have been times in my life when I have been surrounded by adults and I have felt strangely detached. I have looked around the room and felt quite childlike compared to the serious looking adults around me. I often wondered what this was about and began asking other adults if they had ever experienced this before. It turns out that they had.

It seems most of us, if not all of us, can still identify with the child in us. The part of us that feels out of our depth at times and younger than everyone around us. Whenever I have spoken to adults in their sixties or older, they have told me that they still feel like a teenager. Their decisions are based on past experience and more maturity but they still feel childlike on the inside.

I think it is important to keep in touch with that part of yourself – the curious, pure side of yourself that is untouched by social conditioning, etiquette and protocol. I liken my inner child to my essential self – the real me. As we grow up we get told “no” many times over and we learn how to fit in to society and behave appropriately. Some of these behaviours aren’t natural to us and we have to resist our natural inclinations in order to be ‘acceptable’. Staying in tune with your childlike side keeps you young and stops you from taking life too seriously. if you feel like you’ve lost your fun side, go find some swings or skip on the way home. Sounds nuts? Well, maybe it is..but who cares. To hell with social conditioning. The more I speak to others, the more I see how we all have a playful, naughty side.

It seems we never truly grow up…

Mandy X