Fun is a serious business for happiness and especially important for our close relationships. Yet it’s easy to overlook when we are busy with work and the practical demands of everyday life. And it doesn’t need to cost a lot either.
As the pace of life has increased for many of us it’s often at expense of enjoying time with family and friends. But scientific research highlights the importance of doing something fun with our partner, family and close friends. It makes us and them happier and it strengthens our relationships, which in turn leads to greater overall well-being.
Positive emotions make us more social and open to new experiences and ideas as individuals. Experiencing them together makes us feel closer and leads to long lasting bonds. Sharing novel experiences helps us and our relationships to grow and several studies have shown that it also increases relationship satisfaction.
1. Make time regularly
In busy times it can be difficult to get a good balance between work and life, which includes enjoying yourself with friends and loved ones. Why not set a regular date with a friend, family member or loved one to do something fun and/or new together? Here are just a few ideas:
- Set an evening a week aside as a games night
- Organise secret dates – take turns, once a month to organise a secret date for your partner – it could be as simple as a nice walk somewhere new, a visit to a museum, or a sports event
- Take turns with friends and family picking a surprise destination or activity
- Cook together – picking a new dish each week
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2. Discover something new
- Go to a part of your town, area or country that you haven’t been to before and see what good things you can discover
- Find a way to make exercise fun together – like taking up a new sport or having dance lessons with your partner
- Go to an event you’ve not been to together before – like an exhibition, show or sport match
- Volunteer your time together in your local community
- Find a fun way to make something happen for a good cause together – like a sponsored run or charity fundraising event
3. Encourage your children to play
- Make things – it’s a great way to recycle your household packaging!
- Play games together – both inside and out
- Encourage them to use their imaginations – like putting on a little show
- Let them paint and draw and be creative
4. Be silly
Play isn’t just for kids! Do something that will make you all laugh, for example:
- Watching stand-up comedy
- Going to an adventure playground
- Playing a board game
- Having a fancy dress party