According to author Catherine Price

Do you struggle to have fun? It’s not just distractions to blame — money, time spent at work, our phones and attention-grabbing apps — that our world can detract from the fun and sometimes we even forget how to get it! That’s why Price Catherine Written The power of joy: How to feel alive again (Press dial, December 21). In it, Price tells us where “true joy” (not in ) is hidden social media or binge-watching TV) and how to incorporate it into our daily lives, from getting out and connecting with others to taking note of what regularly brings us joy. (For more resources on finding joy, visit Price’s

The power of joy: How to feel alive again

Price disclaimer

What prompted you to write a book about joy?

This is a direct sequel to my last book, How to break up with your phone. At first, those two concepts didn’t seem to be connected, but I realized that they are closely related. When I write How to break up with your phone, perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve got more free time because I’m getting back the time I previously spent on my phone and other screens.

In the midst of a 24-hour break in front of the screen — an exercise my husband and I try to do as often as a digital Sabbath — I finally asked myself a question. “What do you always say you want to do, but you’re told you don’t have the time?” And my answer is to learn to play the guitar, because I already have one. Mine grandmother gave me money in college to buy one. She plays the guitar herself and I’m really close with her. I remember seeing a flyer for this studio with adult guitar classes, so I signed up for one.

When I went to these classes, I felt that I was infused with an overflow of energy that stayed with me for days afterward. I’m starting to look forward to this class being the highlight of my week. I asked myself, “What is this feeling?” The feeling that I am having is very happy, and while I have a happiness life I’m very pleased with, I just don’t feel this sense of freedom and being released recently. And I was intrigued by exactly what that feeling was, what it was doing to me, and how I could have more. That’s how the book was born.

How do you define joy?

As I delved into the research, there was no agreed upon definition of pleasure. It’s a word we use all the time, but what To be fun? I [came] hypothesized, it was a combination of playfulness, connection and flow. You’re giving a mental boost, you feel a sense of connection — usually with another human, but it could be with an animal or even with yourself — and you’re actively drunk. Infatuated with what you’re doing you lose track of time.

Related: How Your Smartphone Is Making You Stupid — And What To Do About It

What is “fake fun” as you describe?

The fact that we don’t have a firm definition of pleasure has made us really vulnerable to any company that wants to market their products to us by telling us that the This product is very interesting. Ultimately, we’ll spend most of our hard-earned leisure time on products and activities that don’t really deliver a playful, connected flow. I consider it fake fun. I would argue that the biggest offenders right now [are] social media apps and other time sucking apps on our phones.

I compare artificial pleasure to junk food, which is designed to be very tempting and makes you want to overconsume but [makes] you feel worse afterwards. You get the initial feeling of happiness when you eat one cookie, but then you end up eating 10 of them cookies and suddenly you don’t feel so great. Maybe look at social media for a minute or see [one or two episodes of] your favorite TV show, but these are designed, because of their business model, to encourage insatiable consumption, and that makes us feel so much worse than when we started. head.

What are the benefits to your health and the consequences of being unhappy?

Most of the things you do when you have fun are active and often involve being physically active and outdoor as opposed to being sedentary in front of a screen. But what interests me most is the effect of screen pursuits on our hormone levels [and] how the relentless connection we have with our devices can encourage a state of increased vigilance. I’m interested in the possible effects on our stress levels.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is there to help us cope and survive physical threats. It’s very effective because it helps you get away with everything by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar, but everyone knows that cortisol is actually bad for us if it stays chronically high for a long time. And if that happens, it’s linked to increased risk for all sorts of health conditions like heart attack, heart disease, stroke, even dementia and cancer. A few years ago, I interviewed neuroendocrinologists and asked them, “Is this a crazy idea?” Each of them said no.

I [looked] into the effects of playfulness, connection and flow. There is a lot of research on how very rejuvenating and relaxing these states are. The more socially connected you are, the happier and more fun you will be and the more engaged and present you will be, the lower your stress levels will be, which means lower cortisol levels, which is great for the long term. Your short-term and short-term Physical health.

What about the social benefits and consequences?

I started writing this book in April 2020 right during the lockdown. Who knows where we are in the trajectory of the pandemic right now, but it’s certainly been the most intense to date, not to mention the uncertainties that have taken place during it. We are all very isolated socially. I’m really appalled by the research I’ve found that shows how bad loneliness and isolation can be for our health. If we don’t feel the human connection, it actually affects our bodies in far more dramatic ways than most people might think. Only one often cited research showed that the health risks of living alone and isolated could be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

One thing that I found particularly interesting in my research is that when people describe really enjoyable experiences in the past, the majority are related to other people, even among naturally introverted people. description. And when I asked people what surprised them with their own answers, a lot of people said exactly the same. There are some interesting search I casually talk about how lonely and isolated can influence us on gene expression, meaning [they] can change the way our genes are turned on and off.

Why do you think people struggle to have fun and make time for fun?

Americans in particular have this purist trait where we assume that if it feels good, it really isn’t good for us and that we should do things that are harder or require more willpower. . You can see that in New Year Determined; We don’t say “This year I will be happier” we say, “I will lose weight, meditate more, exercise more, spend less time on screen.” We emphasize this on limiting ourselves. Fun is one of those rare loopholes where you can get the best of both worlds. It is equivalent to following a diet whose only rule is to eat than food you love.

We also tend to emphasize productivity.

We are conditioned to believe that our time is money, and so any use of time that does not result in us being financially compensated is not a good use of time. good time. There’s an irony in that because we’re so obsessed with the idea that time is too precious to waste, yet we end up wasting our hard-earned idle time on completely useless things. value.

Expensive physical objects that are marketed to us as a pleasure, such as phones, televisions, computers or gaming systems. We buy these really expensive things that we then need to pay for, and how can we pay for them? We had to work longer hours to pay our credit card bills for these properties, and then we weren’t happy and too tired to really do anything. We are getting younger with our leisure time, so we waste it on fake fun.

Pleasure actually increases our productivity because it allows us to take a break. If you want to buy time for money, and you want to maximize that kind of productivity, fun can really help. It’s more restorative than most other things we do with our leisure time. But it has to be its own reward. I think we should rethink the value of time and try to separate money from time.

What would you tell someone is the first thing they should do for real pleasure?

One of the first things I suggest people do is this fun test, as I call it, and recall some experiences from their own lives that they would describe as really enjoyable. . They don’t have to be profound; Give three or four examples. Then ask yourself, “What are you doing? Whom are you staying with? Where have you been? Who, if any, were involved? “

A fun magnet is an activity, setting, or person that usually makes you happy. Playing Music with friends, swing dancing and cycling are fun magnets for me; it’s not guaranteed, but I know if I put it in my schedule I’ll be more likely to have fun. Harness your own life experience for exciting magnets.

Another suggestion [is] to notice the moments of joy, connection and flow already present in your life. When I wrote the book, I had more [of those] more independent moments than I give myself because I didn’t notice them. Calling out those little moments and giving them weight really boosted my mood, so I encourage people to look back at their lives right now.

Related: 100 fun things to do when bored to help you stay awake According to author Catherine Price

Caroline Bleakley

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