When was the last time you laughed? I mean, really laughed? One of those big belly laughs that goes on and on and brings tears to your eyes. If you are lucky it was in the last couple of days but if you are like most people you have been so busy trying to get ahead or attending to your TO DO list that laughter isn't as familiar as it once was.
Children laugh on average up to 300 times a day. Adults, about 17 times. That's a huge difference in our level of happiness. Obviously, age is a factor as kids don't have the same level of concerns and responsibilities that we do. But part of why they laugh more is because playtime is on their calendar.
Adults find it hard to schedule in fun because there are only so many hours in the day. Many of us feel we need to earn our play time or are on a race to success and feel our time is too precious to sacrifice. But research shows that happiness is a huge part of success. This means, rather than focusing all of our time on achieving future goals, it benefits us to access joy right now.
How much happiness do you experience when you were doing things in order to get ahead in the future verses immersing yourself in an activity that brings you joy in the moment? It's likely a significant difference because it is proven that when we are in a flow or completely immersed in something, our level of happiness is the highest. Think of how good it feels when you engage in activities that make you happy and what it's like to be with people who make you laugh.
Reflect on how it feels to be completely swept up in something you are passionate about. One of the keys to happiness includes carving out time each week to engage in play – not waiting till you are further ahead in life to feel that you are to entitled to take the time.
So relax and be at ease.
Reflect on a time when you were joyful as a child, experiences that made your heart race and grow bigger. Think of how good it feels to laugh. Think of some things that inspire you, invigorate you, and fill you up with joy. Think of things you would do if you had all the time in the world. What kind of activities could you bring into your life on a more regular basis? Is there a hobby you haven't been able to justify making time for? What would it take to step out of your comfort zone and try something new? Carve out time for things that would bring you joy and enhance your happiness.
Joy is the one thing we can never get enough of.
Proverbs 15:13: A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. NKJV
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. NIV
A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. MB
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. NASB
A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. NLT
Proverbs 17:22. A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. NKJV
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. NIV
A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone–tired. MB
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. NASB
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. NLT
See also Christmas Joy