How to Make Life Fun<br />
9 Strategies</p>
<p>Photo by Inês Pimentel on Unsplash

The stock market is tanking and we're in the midst of a global pandemic (Are we calling it that yet?). So this might seem like a strange time to talk about how to make life fun. But I tough times are actually the perfect time to take stock of our lives and do what we can to make them more enjoyable.

As a Psychology Today contributor and resident improv expert, I get to spend lots of time researching, writing, and thinking about how we can optimize our joy, connection, and contentment.

But before we get into how to make life fun, there are a few things I've learned about the brain that are relevant to this conversation.

Brain Research Basics

How to Make Life Fun<br />
Brain Research Basics</p>
<p>Photo by David Matos on Unsplash

First, it's important to keep in mind (sorry, not sorry for the pun) that our brains are plastic. I don't mean plastic like the plastic garbage islands floating in the Pacific. I mean plastic as in malleable. Our brains change and keep on changing our entire lives.

That's good news. It means it's never too late to start making life fun.

There's a neuroscience saying that goes, "Neurons that fire together wire together." This just means that our brains are reshaped based on how we use them. Learn seven languages? That's how your neurons are going to fire and form new connections. Sit on the couch watching TV all day? Your brain's going to reflect that.

Second, play is essential for learning. When we're open to new ideas and comfortable enough to try new things, we make new neural connections faster than when we play it safe.

Third, we can only keep one thing at a time in our conscious thoughts. Try it right now. Try to think of the lyrics to a song while also thinking about all the things you need at the grocery store.

Can't be done.

That's good news because it means we can start having more fun if we start being pickier about what we do and don't spend our days thinking about.

With those brain basics in mind, let's look at nine tricks for how to make life fun.

9 Strategies for how to Make Life Fun

1. Get Silly

9 Strategies for how to make life fun<br />
Get Silly</p>
<p>Photo by Katrina Berban on Unsplash

When I'm stuck in Debbie Downer-mode, I try to get more childlike and not take myself so seriously. I try to get silly.

Life is filled with stressors and responsibilities. Of course, it is. But just because life gets serious, doesn't mean we have to.

Now, I'm not talking about shirking responsibilities. I'm talking about finding some fun while getting the job done. Take a dance break, wear an ugly sweater, or skip to my Lou.

If you want your life to be more fun, you're going to have to start with you and be more fun yourself.

2. Don't Overthink It

How to make life fun?<br />
Don't overthink it. </p>
<p>Photo by Simeon Jacobson on Unsplash

It's easy to get stuck in our heads, overthink, and just generally not live in the moment. Unfortunately, those are also all really good ways to not have that much fun.

So how can you get out of your head and have some fun?

Of course, meditation or yoga can help you kickstart a new mindfulness practice. But there's another way. I literally tell myself to stop and think about something else when I feel myself stewing in my own unproductive thoughts.

The brain only has so much room for thoughts, so by kicking one out, you open up some space for a new, more fun thought. Don't like the new thought? Repeat until you land on a thought that you like.

Professionals like counselors, coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists can help you get a handle on unhealthy thoughts. I recommend talking to a professional and not just following blogs (But obvi thanks for following mine!). It's important to talk to trained professionals in real-time, face-to-face.

But any way you do it, the take away remains the same: manage overwhelming, incessant thoughts in order to be more open to enjoying the moment.

3. Stop and Smell the Roses

How to make life fun?<br />
Stop and smell the roses. </p>
<p>Photo by Nikita Tikhomirov on Unsplash

Another answer to how to make life fun is to literally stop and smell some roses. Get outside and get some fresh air. Commune with nature. It's good for you.

Doctors are even starting to prescribe nature to help patients with their mental and physical health.

You get some Vitamin D. You calm down and decompress, and you move your body and get some mild exercise. All good things.

4. Try New Things

How to make life fun?<br />
Try new things. </p>
<p>Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Speaking of things. Try some new things if you want to have more fun.

Are new things scary? They can be.

But can they result in excitement and a sense of accomplishment? They sure can.

When we protect ourselves from discomfort by not trying new things, we are being avoidant. Yes, we won't be embarrassed or uncomfortable, but we also won't meet new people or learn new things.

So get out of your comfort zone, and try that thing on the bottom of your bucket list. You only live once.

5. Look on the Bright Side

How to make life fun?<br />
Look on the bright side. </p>
<p>Good vibes only.<br />
Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Now, when I say "look on the bright side," I'm not talking about blind optimism. Some things are legit bad.

But more often than not, things aren't 100% bad. People who can see the silver lining tend to be happier, more positive, and have more fun.

So practice finding the good in situations and people.

6. Make Time for the Things you Love

How to make life fun?<br />
Make time for the things you love.</p>
<p>Photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash

Spending all your time working and running errands can be a bummer. It doesn't make for the most fun life, so it's important to make time in your day for things you love.

I'm sure you have a million excuses for why you can't carve out that time. I get it. I tend to put other people's needs before my own.

Photo by Calle Macarone on Unsplash

But think of that cliche about putting on your oxygen mask before putting it on your loved one. When you make time for yourself, you will be better able to nurture and support your loved ones.

So take that yoga class, go on that run, or take that local paint and sip class. You know, where you drink some wine and paint a picture of a bowl of fruit. Whatever floats your boat. Go have some fun.

7. Put the Phone Down

How to make life fun?<br />
Put your phone down.</p>
<p>Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Social media doesn't make us happier. Obsessively checking your email doesn't make you happy. Carve out some phone-free time for yourself.

It helps you sleep better (also important for making life fun) and enjoy your downtime. When we're plugged into our smartphones, we're stuck in work-mode, which is a great way to be stressed out and distracted but a terrible way to have a fun life.

8. Connect

How to make life fun?<br />
Connect with people.</p>
<p>Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

We're social animals. On some level, most people need...people.

So another answer to how to make life fun is to fill that life with a handful of friends and family that you truly love. And stay connected. Make it a habit to call, text, or email. Check on them. Invite them over. Make plans.

Don't wait for others to connect with you. Make connecting with them a regular habit.

9. Find the Game

As a contributor for Psychology Today and resident improv expert, this last trick is my favorite for how to make life fun.

If we want to make life fun, we need to find the game in our everyday lives.

This can mean turning something into a game. For example, when I don't want to unload the dishwasher, I pretend I have to beat my old time and then I race against the clock. Suddenly unloading the dishwasher is fun and exciting.

This could also mean joining someone else's game. Think about little kids. They are constantly trying to start some games. They jump in puddles, hide and seek, and run from imaginary lions. And so many times, we sit on the sidelines and let them play instead of joining in the fun.

Adults try to start games, too. They riff off each other, tell funny stories, and compete with each other. These can all be ways to connect and enjoy each other's company.

This is what I've done with Play your Way Sane. This website is made up of everyday games that you can play in order to connect and have more fun. They're 100% free, so click around and play some today.

Here are some of my favorite everyday games that relate to making life fun.

1. Sidewalk Bombs

When I'm walking somewhere...and I'm bored, I play Sidewalk Bombs. I pretend there are bombs in the sidewalk and I have to get past a certain spot in a set time before they explode.

Now, don't worry. There aren't actually bombs. It's all make pretend, but by using my imagination, I have a lot more fun getting from here to there.

2. Helicopters Filled with Cash

Speaking of imagination, I love pretending that money is raining down on me. Because...that would be amazing.

In Helicopters Filled with Cash, I imagine that every time I see a helicopter, it's going to dump millions of dollars down on me.

Because fun.

This also works with planes.

3. Are you my Mother?

This game is silly. When I'm waiting for someone, I tell myself that the next person who walks through the door is my friend. Or my mom. Or my boyfriend.

Then, I see who walks through the door and laugh. Oh, how I laugh. Because that's not really my mom.

I think you're seeing how mature I am. And what I'm talking about when I talk about finding the game in life.

4. The Alien Game

fun mindfulness exercises--the alien game

Easy. Pretend you're an alien and you're trying to blend in so the earthlings don't know you're an alien.

5. Red Car

Count the red cars that go by. Keep score. Play against a friend.

6. The Secret Word

If you ever watched Pee Wee's Playhouse, you know how to play this one. Just choose a secret word and scream or smile or laugh whenever anyone says it.

Final Thoughts on How to Make Life Fun

Life doesn't have to be dull. It doesn't have to be boring. But we have to get silly and find joy in our daily lives in order to make it more fun.

Making life fun means putting our phones down and connecting with people and with nature. It also means being positive and not getting stuck in unhealthy habits of thinking.

There's always time to add a game to your day or join in someone else's. I hope the Play your Way Sane games help you start making your life fun.

Please tell me how it's going and which games are your favorites. And subscribe to our email list for a bonus game each month.