“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” ~ Mark Twain
I have a confession to make. The Recreational Branch of my Soul Health Model was the last one I added to the tree, even though I’ve always placed great value in the benefits of laughter and play. Long ago I even said that my first book would be about adult play since we seem to take our lives too seriously, causing a great deal of stress and enjoying our lives way too little. It is rare that I meet someone who says they have enough fun. Why is that since it is well-documented that laughter can bring great benefit to our overall health?
Almost 20 years ago research indicated that children around the age of 7 laughed approximately 500 times a day, while adults laughed about 10 times in the same time period. Now, studies show that children of similar age laugh about 200 times a day, and adults less than 5. It appears we are heading in the wrong direction, if you ask me.
Research also indicates that less than 40% of Americans use all of their vacation time, choosing instead to “bank” the hours and continue to work their typical long hours. What’s wrong with this picture?
It is up to us to make fun and leisure happen. We may say we “don’t have time”, “don’t have the money”, “can’t find anyone to play with”, “feel too guilty”, or that “I don’t know what is fun to me anymore”. But why do we all long for more of what we won’t create for ourselves?
Fun feeds the soul and laughter bathes the psyche. But many—no, most people don’t have enough of either in their lives. Is it that we don’t value ourselves enough to carve out the time to have some fun? Are we ashamed to “laugh out loud” in reality while we are more than willing to type “LOL” in a text or email (which I’d bet happens much less frequently than the usage of this abbreviation implies).
True soul health requires that we feed the soul in all ways necessary to enhance our overall experience of life, including nourishing ourselves with laughter. Can you honestly say you have enough fun? Do you really want to get to the end of your life and wonder how much more laughter you could have created?
As you plant the seeds of change for this year, consider your Recreational branch of health and determine what needs work. What would you regret not doing this year to create more fun and leisure in your life? Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to go? Why not plan a trip? Have you been putting off taking that art class? How about signing up? Have you missed hanging out with your friends or family who make you laugh? Give them a call.
Fun rarely comes to us—we have to go toward fun. In our culture, we must intentionally plant it in our day in order to reap the benefits that lie within and store up on this much needed commodity. Consider spending some time identifying what is fun to you, then put a plan into action to plant the seeds of change so that fun and leisure are a bigger part of your life.
What needs to happen to make love and laughter blossom as a more important part of your soul health?