A recent study found that college students were able to recall lessons from their statistics class when the teacher incorporated jokes into the curriculum. Clearly, having fun doesn’t just affect our mood, but can also have clear benefits for our brains.
On the surface, having fun can be seen as superfluous – especially in times of great need. However, the fun has been linked to elevated levels of dopamine and endorphins, which are ‘happy hormones’. Higher levels of dopamine and endorphins are shown to improve the immune system, sleep patterns, and overall well-being.
Still, it’s easy for stress to creep into our daily lives. For many, finding a balance between work and life is the number one cause of worry, while social media has also been linked to negativity and criticism.
Thankfully, the modern world isn’t short on entertainment opportunities that can help us combat unwanted pressure and stress. Treatment is as simple as having a great time; not only does this help us recognise joy as a fundamental part of the human experience, but it also encourages us to see the tangible benefits of having fun.
Still not convinced? Keep reading to learn more.
Entertainment can improve mental cognition. This is particularly relevant for those who game, as players must overcome challenges or solve riddles to advance. Even purely recreational games help to relieve stress, which ultimately aids concentration.
For example, a live casino such as Betway that offers roulette will challenge players to apply various strategies related to probability and manage their bankroll – all while entertaining them too. The same goes for popular video games such as Minecraft. On the surface, the game is designed to be recreational but also challenges players to solve problems using both creativity and logic.
Having fun helps us disconnect from intrusive and negative thoughts. Simple activities like dancing or hiking can help rewire our brains by redirecting our attention to the present moment. The more present we are, the less likely we are to delve into thoughts about the past or future.
This is especially true for spending time in nature. A jaunt through the forest brings calmness and relaxation, which can carry us through a difficult week. Spending time in nature has also been linked to decreased blood pressure and reduced nervous system arousal, both of which aid in sleep quality.
Strengthening Social bonds
Most professionals agree that manifesting strong and healthy relationships is pivotal for personal well-being. Whether preparing a meal with loved ones, catching up on old times, or engaging in silly conversations, we’re actually nurturing our mental and emotional wellbeing.
By engaging in group activities, we help solidify our social bonds, as well as build mutual trust and support. The more stable our community is, the more empowered we feel to undertake new initiatives or take a second look at areas of our lives that may need revisiting. As the old adage goes, there’s strength in numbers.
Einstein once said: ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun.’ Being creative allows the mind to roam free and imagination to take precedence over daily stressors. Given that many people are harangued with administrative tasks that don’t challenge our minds, being creative can feel free.
The popularity of products like adult colouring books highlights the need for creative, casual behaviour. Unsurprisingly, creativity helps us get into a ‘flow’ state, which reduces anxiety, boosts our moods, and can even slow our heart rates.
Increased energy levels
One of the worst feelings we experience is waking up with little to no energy, even the smallest of tasks can feel daunting. Physical activity is one of the surest ways to eliminate feelings of tiredness while giving the body a boost of energy.
Still, not everyone is motivated to get outside and start jogging. Don’t be afraid to incorporate fun into a workout routine, whether that’s relying on a video game console like the Wii or joining a lively Zumba class with friends. Even a half-hour walk with your pet by your side is enough to improve your health and help you introduce fun into more areas of your life.
Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.