Fun is a voluntary muscle that requires exercise. A famous sentence by anthropologist Hortense Powdermaker recalls how, at an early age, fun represents “a more effective education than school, because it appeals to emotions and not to intelligence”. But over the years, unfortunately, we risk forgetting what it is, its meter fails or disappears altogether. What we have to do is simply find it again, as a cure to lift the spirit from the succession of the events, from the efforts, from the worries. And from the anxiety levels that are understandably at an all-time high.
But before doing this, it is necessary to understand what one’s idea of entertainment really is, which is different from each of us and changes over the course of existence. If during our studies we looked for fun in parties with friends, over the years we have transformed this feeling into something more adventurous and exploratory. Today some find it climbing mountains, others cyclin, others around a bonfire with a good beer. Although trivial, what made me reflect on this issue is a recent survey I took part in. The result involved the most disparate activities: from surfing to travelling, from dancing to singing to cooking. Surprising note: a huge number of respondents mentioned padel.
Among the many scientific evidences on how much fun is essential for our well-being, I came across the words of Michael Rucker, psychologist and behavioural scientist. In his book The Fun Habit, Rucker explains that fun, unlike happiness, is an action, something we can actually pursue. In other words, something we can strengthen, just like a muscle. It is simply a question of putting aside an endless list of useless chores and trying spontaneously, without preconceptions, taking the example of children and animals, because they seem to instinctively know how to have fun.
Allow yourself this little experiment for a certain period of time. Take a light-hearted approach and smile as you learn something new, no matter what the activity. Make having fun a priority: with friends, with your children, with your dog. Fuel your feel-good hormones with pleasant, even short-term occupations. Get together with people and increase your social interaction, having fun together is more appealing than any individual activity. I do it often. To always keep my tank full of fun. The more I use this muscle, the stronger it gets. But let’s be clear, you’ll never find me on a padel court.