We’ll all agree that Summer is the time for having lots of fun. We get more social, expend more energy, laugh a little more, and enjoy the outdoors.
What we often don’t realize is that there are all kinds of fantastic physical, mental, and emotional benefits that come to us from the simple act of having fun. Take advantage of Summer's energies and get yourself so immersed in feel-good energies that you can easily carry them into Fall!
Having tons of fun during Summer brings rewards we might not usually think of. Check these out:
1. Pain can be relieved. When we have fun, we laugh. Laughter is known, even proven, to alleviate pain. Time Magazine’s article, “It’s No Joke: Why Laughter Kills Pain,” says, “Genuine laughter releases endorphins in the brain, chemicals that activate the same receptors as drugs like heroin, to pain-killing and euphoria-producing effects.”
2. Brain function including better memory improves. In their article entitled, “Eight Habits that Improve Cognitive Function,” Psychology Today names physical activity and social connections as two of the eight principle ways to improve brain function.
3. Creativity surges. Pleasant and fun work and educational environments foster creativity in students and employees. When a positive mood is fostered by engaging in fun activities or even by simply being surrounded by a less rigid environment, activity in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex of the brain is stimulated. Complex cognition, decision-making, and positive emotion necessary for heightened creativity levels are improved. Spending more time outside, engaging in physical exercise enjoyable to you, going to outdoor parties and picnics, and having office meetings under the shade trees on the nearby lawn, all can foster the latent creativity within you.
4. Mental, even physical youth is fostered. If we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy. No matter what age we are, beginning to use our bodies more actively stimulates our musculoskeletal system making us stronger and more vital and alive. “More than just hobbies, chosen activities rekindle early passions, return people to nature, set creative juices flowing and stir the soul,” says Lisa Esposito for U.S. News and World Report Magazine. The constitution of the World Health Organization states, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” A positive mood sustained from regularly just plain having fun can be an important predictor of health and longevity.
5. Relationships are strengthened and love happens when having fun with others. It builds connections and solidifies social bonds. Of course, we can have fun swinging on a park swing by ourselves, but fun is even more so when we do it with people we love. Laughing together, enjoying together, and taking in the Summer together fosters conditions where love grows.
6. Emotional wounds may be healed. In the book, Heal Your Spirit, Empower Your Life!, Dr. Jess Tregle Msc.D. advises that if we’ve had a rocky childhood, we should feel that our childhood is still taking place and to let it be way better than before. She suggests reconnecting with our inner child, our younger self, to heal emotional wounds. Be silly, be playful, and open up to enjoying life more and Summer’s the perfect time to begin!
7. Sleep patterns become more regulated because serotonin in the brain increases. The increased sunlight and physical activity we enjoy in Summer increases our serotonin levels. Serotonin can be found in a variety of foods, many of which we avidly consume in Summer like plums, tomatoes, kiwis, and pineapples.
8. Your body temperature and breathing become more balanced (again because of increased serotonin levels). “Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that mediates many complex processes in the brain. It’s perhaps best known for its role in regulating mood. It’s also thought to help regulate several life-sustaining functions, such as breathing.” –from the article, “Serotonin Helps Control Body Temperature and Breathing,” National Institute of Health
9. Coping skills seem to be magically more available to us. When we’re happy, everything becomes easier. Things that were challenging before, we now seem to be able to accept as part of our everyday stride.
10. Physical energy increases. When we’re bored or feel unstimulated, our body responds as if it is tired or lethargic. Boredom equals lethargy. When we choose to transport ourselves to the next minute where we can engage in a fun activity we love, all of a sudden, our lack of energy has vanished.
11. Overall positive feelings become the norm. Optimistic people live longer. Yale University researchers have found that, “Positive self-perceptions can prolong life expectancy.”
12. We become transformed at a cellular level. The same chemical operation that occurs within the body when laughter is the impetus for the healing of sickness is the same operation that transforms our entire physical being at the cellular level.
http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/14/its-no-joke-why-laughter-kills-physical-pain/ 14 Sept. 2011: n. pag. Web. <Time MagazineSzalavitz, Maya. "It’s No Joke: Why Laughter Kills Pain."
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201403/eight-habits-improve-cognitive-function12 Mar. 2014: n. pag. Web. Psychology Today. Bergland, Christopher. "Eight Habits That Improve Cognitive Function."
https://greatist.com/happiness/ways-to-boost-creativity. N.p., 3 Mar. 2016. Web. "33 Surprising Ways to Boost Creativity for Free."
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/slideshows/what-keeps-you-young?slide=1 6 May 2015: n. pag. Web. U. S. News and World Report. Esposito, Lisa. "What Keeps You Young?" Bloomington, IN: Balboa, 2017. Print. Heal Your Spirit & Empower Your Life! Tregle, Dr. Jess, Msc. D.
http://nutritionwonderland.com/2009/06/understanding-bodies-serotonin-connection-between-food-and-mood/. N.p., 24 June 2009. Web. Wilcox, Christine. "Understanding Our Bodies: Serotonin, The Connection Between Food and Mood."
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/serotonin-helps-control-body-temperature-breathing(2011): n. pag. Web. 8 Aug. 2011. National Institute of Health. "Serotonin Helps Control Body Temperature and Breathing."
"Thinking Positively About Aging Extends Life More than Exercise and Not Smoking." http://news.yale.edu. N.p., 29 July 2002. Web. http://news.yale.edu/2002/07/29/thinking-positively-about-aging-extends-life-more-exercise-and-not-smoking>.