On President’s Day, I took my seven year old, Luke, to see the Harlem Globetrotters. What a blast from the past! The last time I saw this team perform was in the seventies – and I remember having the time of my life. After seeing Luke bent over in laughter for several hours, I was reminded of the unabashed pleasure of innocent fun.

Somewhere along the path of making good grades, getting a good education, fighting to get that next promotion, making more money and trying to be the perfect spouse and parent, we forget to make time for childish fun. My little boy’s adorable laughter reminded me that I need to slow down and appreciate these special – and playful – moments more often than I do.

Play is good for you

Joe Robinson, Author of Don’t Miss Your Life, knows far more about this topic than I. His wonderful article entitled, “The Key to Happiness: A Taboo for Adults,”  suggests that we grownups, afflicted with a condition called adulthood, are so caught up in being productive and solving life’s problems, we lose sight of one key component of being happy – play.  Play, he says, reflects “personal expressiveness” more than our work or job. If we are engaging in activities we like to do, we are happier.

Make exercise fun

If play makes us happy, then why not make exercise more playful? Ironically, last week, I wrote about making exercise more fun. If we could hearken back to activities in which we enjoyed as a child, we might find ways to enjoy exercise as an adult. Does working out have to be boring and painful? Of course not! Less pain + more fun = we’ll do it more often (and feel better, too)!

My feel like a kid list

I encourage you to think about those activities and adventures that make you feel like a kid again. Take the time to play. Laugh. And enjoy!

I’ll make my own list to help get you started…..

1). Finding bumps to jump. I got lucky last weekend when we went to Brundage Mountain, a hidden gem in McCall, Idaho. The mountain had received about two feet of fresh snow and it was a skiers’ delight. I am by no means the next Lindsey Vonn (I grew up in Tennessee after all!), but there’s something about air beneath my skis that makes me happy, especially when there’s plenty of snow to cushion the fall.

2). Shaking a leg. I’m no Michael Jackson either, but I do love to dance. When I’m blasting the music with my little Luke, it doesn’t matter if I have two left feet or no obvious rhythm. We’re both laughing hysterically as we whirl and twirl, shake our booties, do the bump and play a little air guitar. How fun is that?

3). Passing gas. There’s a reason why whoopee cushions, iPhone apps and fart books sell well – farts are funny! The joke may be on us if we let one slip at an inopportune time (e.g., at an important business meeting); but otherwise, farting is a good excuse to have some harmless fun. Get a family contest going one night – I’ll bet you can’t keep a straight face!

4). Healthy competition. I openly acknowledge that I’m a competitive person. I’ve learned to tame this attribute (or fault!) over the years as a means to adapt to a society in which I will rarely, if ever, be #1. But it is enjoyable to find some outlets to constructively release my competitive juices – a doubles tennis match, Wii sports, a successful run down a mogul field and other meaningless, but enjoyable, wins.

5). A silly movie. I’m a huge fan of depressing Indie movies; perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment. But even I need occasional slap-stick humor to lighten things up a bit. Who doesn’t enjoy a little Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, and Owen Wilson every  now and then?

6). Singing Grease and Go Go tunes. Or even Osmond Brothers, Carpenters, Prince or other blasts from the past. Even Luke tells me to “hush” when my less-than-melodic voice takes center stage, but it feels good to belt out a few beloved tunes at the top of my lungs. There’s a reason I bought him a karaoke machine when he turned four – I wanted it for myself!

The list could go on and on. What’s on yours?

Shel Silverstein poems…..

Facial contortions…..

A big kiss from your dog……

Dressing up for Halloween…..

About the author

Melinda is a marketer, researcher and writer. She also has a passion for healthy living, every day.