Life is meant to be fun
It is, by now, common knowledge that one way to improve our mental wellbeing is to exercise. This is because when we are active we produce endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters that all impact on our mood and they make us feel good, more positive, relaxed, motivated and they can help to reduce the typical symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. We also know that when we take up regular exercise we are more likely to sleep better and have higher levels of self esteem.
This is all great stuff and something that most of my clients want back in their lives. So why is it then that so many people find it such a challenge to take themselves for that walk, jog, bike ride, etc? I believe it’s because we have been accustomed to think that any form of exercise will be a challenge, a chore, or something that demands more than we have to give. I would like to reframe that for people and put out there that life is meant to be fun and everything we do in it can be a joy. This might mean that we need to invest a little time into our thinking about what being active means to us first.
Think back to your childhood, when you were able to spend hours and hours playing outside. When you were so busy having fun that you didn’t notice how tired you were getting. When you were enjoying yourself so much that you didn’t want it to end, you didn’t even want to stop to eat your dinner. For me, this is what being active should be about, and I believe that as adults we have been conditioned to loose touch with that real sense of fun we can experience when we play.
I therefore suggest to those people who struggle to feel motivated, to find an activity that you know will be fun. Something that can ignite that childhood spark again and get you up and moving with a smile on your face.
I remember playing Kirby, bulldog, tag, hide and seek, skipping, cartwheeling, making up dances, going on adventurous bike rides, exploring the nearby fields and hunting for bugs. None of these were done with expectations that I would place on myself. My 10 year old self didn’t ever say, “pedal further next time” or “you should have tried harder”. All I cared about was the game, the adventure and the fun I was having. I never dreaded going out to play, I always looked forward to it and I was always active.
I believe that this is what we need to rediscover as adults. So what can you do to rekindle that same carefree, active, zest for life? Maybe you could go back to some of those activities you enjoyed so much when you were a child, or maybe you can try something you have never tried before. Whatever you choose, try doing it with that same carefree approach to life you had as a child. Clear away any expectations other than you just want to have fun.
I have been working with children, adults and families for over 15 years, providing a range of therapeutic services and relaxation classes designed to create positive changes for the mind, health and self.
Here you will find articles written by me that are my own thoughts influenced by the most up to date neuroscience, research and my experience as a therapeutic social worker and a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist.