How to have fun : Life Kit : NPR


A colorful, neon illustration of various vignettes of people having fun. A snorkeler popping into the frame from above, people dancing, someone playing drums, a hand painting and someone eating an ice cream cone.

When was the last time you had fun? Not “I saw a TikTok of a dancing bird” fun, but more like true, lost-track-of-time, laughing out loud, never forget it fun?

Look, I know it takes a lot of hustle to just be in the world sometimes. But I have an important message for you: Fun is not frivolous! When we have true fun (more on that later), we stave off loneliness, we stop judging ourselves and we can walk away from a couple of hours of fun with energy that buoys us long after the guitar is back in its case or the deck of cards is back in the drawer.

It’s important to acknowledge that to have fun, you really need to have your basic needs met. But making space for fun doesn’t mean needing to go on a fancy vacation or spending a bunch of money on equipment: Fun can be sledding down a hill or singing a song.

Catherine Price is a speaker, journalist and the author of several books, including How to Break up with Your Phone and The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again.

Left: Colin Lenton; Right: The Dial Press


hide caption

toggle caption

Left: Colin Lenton; Right: The Dial Press

I talked to Catherine Price, author of The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again, about how to add more fun to your life. Let’s start with Price’s definition of true fun:

Price’s book defines fun as a time when you are able to embody a mix of three things: playfulness, connection and flow.

Playfulness

“I don’t mean you have to play a game. You don’t have to play make-believe, you have to do charades,” says Price.

Playfulness is when you embrace a spirit of lightheartedness and freedom. It means letting go of the idea that you have to be perfect or to achieve something.

Connection

You feel a sense of connection with the activity that you’re doing. You feel a sense of connection with your physical body. Or, most likely, you feel a sense of connection with another person or group of people through a shared experience.

Flow

You know that thing where you’re totally immersed in something and can even lose track of time? That.

Price has a handy acronym that just might help you bring more fun into your days: SPARK

SMake space for fun! Put your phone down, or even set aside some time on your calendar to make sure you are really dedicating yourself to looking for fun.

PPursue passions. “You don’t need to put pressure on yourself and think ‘I’m going to become a professional snowboarder,'” Price says. Set the bar low! Look for things that interest you and let those guide you.

A — A is for attracting fun, which means having an open mind about when and where fun might appear. Price recommends an improv-style “yes, and” approach to having fun, where you look for fun as well as jump into other folks’ fun.

RRebellion! Price found in her research that a little bit of gentle rebellion was a good way to make fun happen. So, jump in a pool with your clothes on! Go roller skating in the middle of the night! Stepping out of what is expected of you can be a great way to seek out fun moments.

KKeep at it! Like any new practice, the only way to really incorporate it into your life is to try it many times. So don’t give up if basket weaving doesn’t work for you — maybe it’ll be guitar or making zines or working in the community garden that becomes your next fun magnet!

More on how to have fun (including a quiz that will tell you your fun personality type) here.

The podcast portion of this story was produced by Clare Marie Schneider with engineering support from James Willetts.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have a good life hack, leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823 or email us at LifeKit@npr.org. Your tip could appear in an upcoming episode.

If you love Life Kit and want more, subscribe to our newsletter.