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I Forgot How Much Fun Life Was!

My favorite question to ask people, when I first meet them is “What do you like to do for fun?”.
More often than I expect, I get the response “Hmmm, I don’t know”, or I hear that they used to have fun, but life got in the way, no time, no money, and the excuses start piling up.

Do you find that you get distracted, with your job, kids, family, friends, doing things for others? It can be easy to forget how to have fun ourselves. Has fun changed for you? The things you used to do that were fun are not fun anymore, and it’s been so long that now it seems like an effort to have fun?
It changes; the fun that you had when you were five is probably different from the fun that you had when you were 15, which is probably different with the fun that you have 27, or 31 or 52. Whatever age you are, it’s important to have fun. Because life can be hard, it can be tough, things are not always easy and there can be challenges that come up every day. Some challenges knock us down, distract us or occupy us. Part of life is to solve problems, part of it is to work out how to be the best version of ourselves, or discover what we’re here for, how to give back or how to help other people, and even maybe how to help ourselves some of the time. Sometimes, it can seem as though some people know how to have fun easily and for others, it’s an effort.

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When I was a teenager and most people my age were out having fun, I was staying home, shy… I didn’t learn to have fun until I was in my 30’s. I wasn’t 17 or 18, I didn’t have much fun then. I was working, I was doing what I thought was expected of me, I was helping my friends and family, fitting in. Mostly though, I thought that I needed something to happen to have fun. I didn’t realise until years later that the TV commercials, magazines, advertising had it wrong. They tell us that we need something to have fun – drink coca-cola and have fun! Go on a holiday and have fun, get a relationship, eat chocolate or biscuits or birthday cake, the list goes on.

Fun is an emotion!

Fun is an emotion, and emotions are inside of us, they’re a part of who we are. But emotions don’t just happen to us. Coca-Cola is a drink, chocolate is chocolate, a holiday is a holiday, none of these things can give you the feeling of fun unless you allow it to. Have you seen someone drink coca-cola, eat chocolate or go on a holiday and not have fun? I have. It got me thinking that there is more to fun what happens around us. How do you get the feeling of fun without the other stuff? Or more accurately how do you increase the feeling of fun by feeling it first before doing an activity?

Your imagination is a great place to start. Your mind is pretty incredible, it doesn’t know the difference between what you imagine to be real and what is physically real. This means that you can use your imagination to get the feeling of fun before you go do something fun. The cool thing about that is, it can also intensify the feeling of fun that you experience. And if you have the feeling first then it increases the options you have for having fun, because you’re not expecting the activity or the food or where you are or the people you’re with to give you the fun feeling, you already have the feeling.

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It’s good to remember that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to have fun. I used to have an unhealthy way to have fun that involved eating junk food and being lazy. High sugar, high fat food and not exercising, so I was unfit and unhealthy. As soon as I started giving the fun emotion to myself first, before reaching for the tub of ice cream or the potato chips, I realised that I could have fun and eat healthier food, I could have fun and exercise, I could have fun in a healthy way, which is also much more sustainable over the long term. It also meant that for me, I found ways to have fun that didn’t cost much money, so I was saving money, getting fitter and healthier, meeting other fun people and really enjoying myself. I call this ecological fun. Ecology is when something is good for you, good for me and good for everyone around us.

Using your imagination

When I was thinking of having fun, I would first use my imagination to trigger the feeling of having fun. I’d close my eyes and imagine a time that I was having fun and play that movie through a few times in my head. The more I experienced the movie and really felt the fun feeling, the easier it was to do. Then I took it up a level and I started playing my favourite song or playlist at the same time. Because even if I’m not really feeling it at the start, as the music plays, I start getting better at playing the movie through and before long, I’m up dancing and singing around the room. Now the movie is automatic so I don’t need to close my eyes, I just play a song from my fun playlist and the fun feeling flows through me!

Once you have the feeling, find something fun to do! The reason why I start every conversation with “What do you like to do to have fun” is partly to remind people that it’s important to have fun, and I love getting ideas from other people on things to do for fun. Which leads to finding people to do those fun things with.

What people are saying about Emotion Academy:

"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria

I met someone recently and the conversation started like this.
“Hi, what do you like to do for fun?”
“I love stand up paddleboarding!”
“I’ve always wanted to do that”
“Awesome, let’s go this weekend!”

Now I’ve been stand up paddleboarding a few times, really enjoyed it and made a new friend.

Recognise when you need a break

Sometimes I used to get so caught up in my work and things that needed to be done that I’d forget to have fun. I’m really lucky because I have great friends that asked me ‘When was the last time you did something for yourself? When was the last time you did something that was fun for you?’ And if I couldn’t remember the last time, then I knew that was a problem. I started making a list of what I like to do to have fun. You might have a few things that you think of quickly like go to the movies, walk in the park, sing loud and dance around the room, go camping. Some things may be things you enjoy doing with other people and I would encourage you to have a list that is for you, things that fill you up, that you don’t need other people for. Things like having a bath, going for a walk, cooking, going for a run, reading. Things that don’t need to cost money, because emotions don’t need to cost money. It’s about feeling them; it’s about being fun and being happy.

I started creating a list for the things I love to do for fun, and the things I wanted to do for fun, things I haven’t done like, travel to Switzerland, or learn how to surf. The list keeps building! I like having a list because I can keep it on my phone so, no matter where I am, I can refer to it.

The list helps when I’ve got heaps of stuff going on or am getting overwhelmed, I remember that I need to take a break, that’s when I go to my list. I make sure that at least once a week, I do something from my list like go for a walk, listen to my favourite music, sing and dance, have a bath, go to the movies, call a friend.

The more fun you have the easier it gets

The more you experience fun, the easier it can be to have fun! When we feel an emotion in the moment and it’s a strong feeling, the memory of that feeling is stored like a file in a filing cabinet. So when we feel a strong positive emotion, it’s like that memory has been highlighted in our memory file. This makes it easier to find. You would notice that the moments in life that are the easiest to remember, are more commonly the ones that have a supercharged emotion associated with them.

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Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer

Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight.  In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.

The more you can experience the feeling of fun (or any other positive emotion) while you are doing an activity, the easier it will be to recall the file of that memory. It’s moments of fun that stack up over time in relationships, career, health, with friends that create memories of our lives. When you begin to increase the appreciation, the positive feelings in the moment, that’s when you start highlighting it, the more moments you can create that are highlighted, the quicker you’ll find you can remember how to have fun and do it.

How much easier are conversations with other people when you’re having fun? Talking to somebody else who is having fun, can make our lives richer, more connected, adding to the quality of our life.
What’s on your list? What if you wrote a list and you stuck it somewhere on your fridge or in your bedroom, or somewhere easy to see and add to?

Do something fun every week, it makes the challenges and the hard parts more worthwhile. It can help give meaning to life, it doesn’t matter if you prefer to have fun with other people or whether you prefer to enjoy your own company. The important thing is to have the feeling first and then do the activity. Play the movie of fun in your mind and keep adding to your list…

I can’t wait to meet you and have you ask me ‘What do you love to do for fun!’

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