Are you starting to recognize that you may be indulging in the “fun avoidance” I described in last week’s post? Does it seem like too much work to deliberately create some fun when being glum is so much easier?
If so, consider that almost nobody gets enough fun, relaxation and uplifting activity these days, given our busy schedules and extra-demanding, stressful lives. It actually takes a physiological toll that’s so subtle we may not be aware it’s happening. When we let our “logical mind” override the messages from our physical and spiritual selves, we risk losing out on much-needed refreshment and renewal.
So here’s a little test to find out if you have a tendency to avoid fun: just ask yourself the following questions.
As you read this, are you thinking of the different ways that you could have fun? Or are you thinking that you just don’t have the time, or that I just don’t understand how serious your problems are? Do you feel somewhat bothered or even annoyed by these suggestions?
If you answered “No” to the first question, and/or “Yes” to any of the others, then you may be a “fun avoider” – and if so, the following is my 4-step process for curing yourself of this tendency:
- Sit with your honest feelings of resistance to fun for a moment. Allow your feelings to become separate from your thoughts and judgments. Breathe slowly and deeply, and feel the conflict inside you. Just breathe, don‘t act. If it helps, count slowly to 10 while you breathe normally, to make sure you give yourself enough time.
- Just become aware of your inner struggle. Do you WANT to choose to laugh? Are you aware of what has interfered with this choice up until now? What beliefs come up in your mind – about yourself, others or having fun itself? What new beliefs could you substitute for those, that would be more positive and empowering? Remember that you get to choose what you believe, regardless of any “evidence” you’ve gathered in the past that would contradict it.
- Are you willing and ready to let go of the old beliefs, which have held you down and kept you feeling stressed and burdened? Are you willing and ready to own new beliefs that celebrate your very being and essence? Are you ready to embrace beliefs that make room for joy and lightheartedness that automatically comes with thinking about them?!
- Think of some opportunities to have fun that you have in the immediate future. Then for the next 3 minutes picture yourself, in as much detail as possible, doing those things while you repeat last week’s affirmation: “My soul shines through as I laugh and play, and I give myself time to do this each and every day!”
Now NOTICE how your body feels. Let the anticipation of simple pleasures resonate and grow within you – on a molecular level, the cells of your body are literally vibrating with happiness. Get used to recognizing when you are feeling that!
The key is to engage your physical self in making the decision, because even if your brain wants to talk you out of doing that fun activity, your body may actually be better able to accurately assess whether you want and need it.
It’s important to understand that in encouraging you to have fun I am not asking you to gloss over or deny your problems. I am asking you to take a much-needed break from them, so that when you do return to face them you may be able to do so with a new perspective. A refreshed outlook, and the possibility of being able to handle those problems with renewed energy and clarity, will be well worth the time invested!