Free Subscription to Debbie Mandel's Acclaimed Wellness Newsletter

How to Have Fun Again

By Debbie Mandel

Remember when you woke up filled with enthusiasm, eager to begin your day, savoring each vibrant moment? How long has it been since you felt vital in that way? If a photo were taken of you at this moment, would you smile for the camera or look nervous and serious, uncomfortable that the picture is being taken?

We need to recapture the Kodak moments of our lives which express our innate capacity for fun and laughter. Our fears, problems, losses and disappointments have hurled obstacles in the way of personal happiness. We need to clear the path, prune the trees and wash the windows to let joy shine into our interior.

Along the way we were taught so many “protective” strategies: don’t talk to strangers, don’t go to unknown places, don’t express yourself fully or reveal personal, vital information… No wonder many of us have a hard time opening ourselves up to new friends, trying new things or saying what’s on our minds. All of these protective walls have limited our potential for joy and uninhibited fun.

This requires that we tap into our original identity – all that we once were before we became spouses, parents and professionals. We need to get reacquainted with ourselves on a first name basis. We need to soften the hard, outer shell we have placed over our hearts, the scar tissue, that prevents us from having compassion for ourselves and for others, fearful that we might be hurt.

Here’s how to remove those barriers and reclaim your sense of fun:
  • Stop making war with your pain, grief or afflictions. Make peace with your situation and enjoy yourself within it, around it and in spite of it!
  • Be kind to others whether it be an hour of volunteer work a week, or by smiling and holding the door for others to pass. When you are kind to others, you learn to be kind to yourself!
  • Express yourself freely, outrageously and with humor. Perhaps, you might like to wear a wig in a different length and color than your own hair- be sure to make it cheap for fun only- to express another identity. Buy a hat that frames who you are and inspires you to act differently.
  • Tap into group energy with your friends. One of you will serve as a catalyst to generate fun once you all get together and laugh.
  • Try moving according to nature’s rhythms: hiking, biking, walking along the beach. Absorb the positive energy of natural places and act naturally, freely.
  • Cultivate an eye for fun. Whatever you are doing, see the fun in it. Whether you are cleaning the house or working on an intensely demanding project, there is always some fun or humor inherent in it. Put on the music, or make a witty remark to a colleague and let yourself go. Release that pent up stress.
  • Be fully present to whatever you do. Don’t bring along your worry or to-do list.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: