Stress Management: 4 Steps to Massive Stress Relief by Having Fun

Over the years I've collected scores of comics and cartoons about marriage, families, stress and change. There is just something about a good comic strip that can many times explain something much better than I can.

One of my all time favorite strips in the "Family Circus" - and not just because the little boy's name is Jeff. It's also because it realistically captures many of the struggles of day to day living.

A few years back, I cut out a Family Circus that had just two scenes in it.

The first scene shows the two parents, huddled attentively in front of the TV, watching an older and obviously learned gentleman lecturing on The Fundamentals of Having Fun, if you can believe such a title.

The second scene simply shows the kids out in the yard - running, playing, swinging, playing chase, and basically Having Fun!

Now, can someone please explain to me how it is that we go from being kids who naturally know how to have fun to being adults that have to watch a TV program in order to learn how to have fun?

Exactly what has happened to us?

What I notice with more and more frequency, both in my practice and in my seminars, is that many "grown-ups" have somehow forgotten how to do at least two very important things in life: how to rest and how to have fun.

We'll save how to rest for another time. Today we will tackle a very simple exercise on how to have fun.

Four Simple Steps to Remembering How to Have Fun

Step 1 - Write down 5 -10 things that you like to do for fun. They can be small, just a few minute things or larger more time consuming activities, and everything in between. If you can't think of at least five things you like to do for fun, call me, we need to talk.............

Step 2 - Looking at your list, do the following:

put a "D" next to each thing you have done in the last day/24 hours

put a "W" next to each thing you have done in the last week

put an "M" next to each thing you have done in the last month

put a 6 next to each thing you have done in the last 6 months, and finally

put a 1 next to each thing you have done in the last year

Step 3 - Review your list. If you find you have lots of D's and W's, good for you! If you are like most folks however, you will find you have many more 1's, 6's and M's than you might have expected. That's the purpose of this little check-up, to give you a bit of a wake up call. Now on to step four and what you can do about this............

Step 4 - Choose just one activity from your list that you can commit to doing in the next week. Make the decision to do this activity NO MATTER WHAT!

We tend to make things so difficult, when really this can be quite simple.

Then the next week, choose something else from your list and do that one. And so on and so on. In this way, you get 100% improvement each week.

Not bad, huh?

Now if you really want to be radical, you could do one thing from your list everyday.

But that might be too much fun..................

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