by Lisa Martin
Children naturally love to play. My son spends most of his waking hours just having fun.
Remember how that used to feel? Playing for the joy of it… for pure pleasure.
When you have so many demands on your time, it is easy to forget about finding joy in everyday life. It’s easy to get too busy to do the things you enjoy. But it is really important to create the space for fun. Playing restores and reenergizes you. It makes you feel good. When you make having fun a part of your life you can face all other responsibilities with more enthusiasm and lightness.
When I begin coaching clients I often request that they start doing more things that bring them joy. Unfortunately many clients tell me they can’t remember what is joyful for them. When I hear that it always makes my heart sink; but it never surprises me.
In the early ’90s I was so busy building my first company I didn’t make anytime for fun. All I did was wake up go to work until very late in the evening and then come home and go to bed. My ‘Aha’ moment came one day while I was waiting for a client to join me for lunch. I overheard the conversation at the table next to me where two women about my age were discussing the great time they had on the weekend. They were reminiscing about a group bike ride and BBQ. I felt empty. I couldn’t think of the last time I’d done anything like that. In fact, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d done anything fun at all. So, I decided it was about time I started. “Started what?” I thought. The unfortunate reality was I was out of practice. I’d forgotten how to have fun.
One of the best ways to figure out what fun means to you is to think about what you enjoyed doing as a child. For me it was playing in the woods. I grew up in a house situated at the base of a mountain. There was an orchard directly below it and a forest behind. As a child I would spend hours in the woods finding and traversing new trails. When I tapped into that memory I realized that I would really enjoy hiking…a more grown-up version of playing in the trees.
Today I go hiking as often as I can. I just love it. I always feel terrific after getting out and enjoying nature. The wonderful thing is when you start making more time for play you will gain energy, reduce stress, and feel more personal satisfaction.
Pay Attention to the Little Things Experiencing joy is also about paying attention to the small pleasures in life. If you are aware of the happiness that can be found in each ordinary day, life itself is a celebration. Small, basic things can bring you joy. Notice the smell of fresh coffee, the sound of a child’s laughter, and the beauty in a blade of grass. Each day is a great and unique gift.
© Copyright 2006. Lisa Martin. All rights reserved.