Are you still having fun?

As a child, you had fun. But what about this side of 60–are you still having fun?
If not, why not?
Fortunately for me, I feel I have a mandate to fulfill. My mother died years ago, but I still remember the last words she said to me.
They were “Have fun!”
And recently, I’ve been noticing how much like my mother I am in that regard. Often when one of my children or my husband leaves the house, my final words are “Have fun!”
As I was growing up, fun was very important to my mother. Although we were poor during the Depression and my parents worked hard, we always found money for good times!
Buying a package of wieners and roasting marshmallows for a backyard supper, renting a row boat for an all-day fishing trip, going to Grandma’s house during the week, picking blueberries, taking a picnic to Whetstone Gulf and wading in the creek, and reading, always reading.
The last time my mother said those words (“Have fun!”), I think she knew it would be our final conversation. But what she didn’t realize was that by saying “Have fun,” she also was saying, “Have good health.”
It seems only recently that researchers have established how strongly the two are intertwined.
In a study by psychologist Arthur Stone of the State University of New York, researchers discovered subjects had an increase in undesirable events and a dip in desirable events three-five days before they developed colds.
“That covers the incubation period for the cold, which is 24-72 hours,” Stone noted.
A surprise in the study was that a change in the number of positive events was even more important than a change in the number of negative events.
“Having a good time on Monday still had a positive effect on the immune system by Wednesday,” it found. “But the negative immune effect from undesirable events on Monday lasts just for that day.”
Now we know that having fun improves our immune systems, just as unpleasant events harm our immune systems.
So having a fun time improves your mood, your happiness, and your health.
And the next question is: Just what is fun? Of course, that depends entirely on you. My “fun” list includes reading, playing bridge on the computer, and talking to my friends during water aerobics.
What would you put on your list? Woodworking, playing the piano, putting puzzles together, quilting, golfing, gardening, playing Scrabble?
You name it!
But whatever it is, make sure that you laugh often while you engage in your “fun” activity.
Remember how you laughed as a child? Or if you can’t remember, notice how often your grandchildren laugh.
We’re told that while children usually laugh 400 times a day, adults laugh only 15 times. And just as having fun improves your immune system, laughter improves your health.
So tap into your spontaneous inner-child. And work at thinking thoughts that bring you happiness. The pleasant emotions from positive thoughts help produce a feeling of well-being.
So, as far as the question: Are you still having fun?
It’s entirely up to you. Find ways to increase the positive experiences in your life, look for the fun in every-day occurrences, and laugh out loud at each opportunity.
Have fun and stay healthy!
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@aol.com

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