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Playfulness Leads to Happiness

Lesson 3 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

Playfulness Leads to Happiness

Lesson 3 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

3. Playfulness Leads to Happiness

Lesson Info

Playfulness Leads to Happiness

Day number three is all about play. And for this, my goals are pretty easy. This is about freedom. So yesterday we talked a lot about capable and power and those are all great, but I wanna give us a little bit of more freedom to relax and have fun. We're gonna play together. I think we all need a little bit of silliness and joy in our life. Of course, we start every day with a warmup and today's warmup has to do with music. Now we talked a little bit about music in day one. So here's my warmup question for you at home. I want you to write down what songs pop up for you. If you had to pick one song to remind you of the happiest time in your life. Now this is a double headed question, right? 'Cause it's like, what was the happiest time in my life? Is the first question and then what's the song? And it can be a song from your childhood, any songs that pop up real quickly? What have you guys in the audience? Happy. Happy! Yeah, Oh yeah, totally, if I could play it, I would totally play...

it. I love, I won't sing it, I was about to sing it. It was about to come out (laughs). (audience laughs) I won't do it. Another question for you. What was your very first concert? So mine (laughs) (audience member laughs) mine was 98 Degrees. (audience laughs) I don't know if anyone remembers 98 Degrees, but I had posters of boy bands all over my walls. That was my first concert. My first CD, by the way, was Alanis Morissette. Hell Yeah. Mine too! What? Yeah! That was your first CD! First CD. Oh, little pill, right? Yeah. Jagged little pill. Jagged little pill, sorry. Yes. I shortened it my little.. Super fan (chuckles). Super fan, so what was your first concert? The first concert Alanis Morissette. Yes. Any other first concerts? Hootie and The Blowfish (laughs). That's a really cool one. Like most people's first concerts like mine are like I'm embarrassed to say it. Any other ones, any like Milli Vanilli or like, no, yeah. Dirty dancing. Dirty dancing? It was a concert. That's pretty great. That's pretty great. So the reason I bring up these, is because the power of music is actually really great. Small, powerful, happiness lover and I actually think that it ties into a lot of play. There's a sense of freedom that goes with music. And so I wanted to put it in this day. Specifically music, what they found when people listen to music is, it triggers a very specific part of the hippocampus. And this is called context dependent memory. So somehow music is tied to, not the sound itself, but actually where we were when we first heard it, when we first enjoyed that song. So listening to music from the happiest time in your life can trigger the same happy chemicals of that time. So if you remember that happy time in your life and you listen to that music, it actually brings up all the endorphins of going back there. It's a beautiful way to reminisce. So the reason I asked you about your favorite music from happy times, I actually want you to come up with your own little playlist, if you will. I have a bunch of playlists that I create that remind me of happy memories. And there is research done on the happiest making songs. In other words, the songs that trigger the most brain activity, and we have a link to that on our 21 day happiness challenge. So come up with your little playlist, tweet me your playlist, if you make it, and then also check out the songs that scientifically make you the happiest. It's a really fun playlist. The other part of music. So there's listening to music and there's singing music and both are very happy producing. So we all know this song, by the way, I had to pick songs that were, in the free copyright. So can we just get a little warm up, sing these songs, ready? ♪ Row, row, row your boat ♪ ♪ Gently down the stream ♪ ♪ Merrily, merrily merrily, merrily ♪ ♪ Life is but a dream ♪ Bet we never had that on Creative Live before. (audience laughs) How about this different version? Let's try this one ♪ Row, row, row your boat ♪ ♪ Gently down the stream ♪ ♪ If you see a crocodile, ♪ ♪ Don't forget to scream. ♪ And then this one, but let's not sing it because I found this version and I was like, let's not do that one. (audience laughs) Like that is a cruel version of ♪ Row, row, row, your boat ♪ Isn't that terrible. I was like, Oh God, I'm not gonna sing that! So here's the fun thing about singing. Science says that singing is also something that makes us happy. It's a different way of performing music. In fact, singing releases, endorphins, which improves our mood. The other study that I found here was that people who sang together shared more. "I don't believe play is a luxury, "I think it is a necessity." I love that quote. So my big idea is that any of us can incorporate playing into our lives as adults and here's how. It has to do with your inner kid (laughs). This is me playing, by the way, my mom texted me after she watched day one. And she was like, I love all the pictures. I was like, mom, there's more coming just get excited. (audience laughs) So a child laughs over 300 times per day, adults laugh 17.5 times per day. That is so sad. The saddest part about this study is I looked at this and I was like, wow, 17.5 would be great. (audience laughs) Right? Like I actually saw that number and I didn't think like how low I was like how high! Which is like a terrible thing. So this is about getting more of that freedom. I think laughter comes from freedom. So I'm curious, you guys at home, you in the audience, what did you wanna be as a kid? Do you remember what you wanted to be? I wanted to be a teacher, which is kind of funny. I teach most of the time now, by the way, this is one of the best conversation starters you can ask someone. When I asked you this question, when this question popped up, I don't know if you guys noticed at home, but your faces were like, like it somehow is freeing just this question, feels freeing, why? 'Cause it takes us back to a time where there was no, how much am I going to make? Is that easy to do? What's the education requirement for that? Is it practical? Is it possible? It actually takes us back to that time where we had so much mental and (mumbles) emotional and mental freedom. So here's what play is about. I think it's about these four things. When we talk about play as adults, what I'm talking about is a mindset, just like the one we tapped into a moment ago where we're able to explore, where there's no wrong answers, we're able to say, "God, it'd be great to be Catwoman! "I wonder if that mask would get itchy on your face." Right, like you're able to actually just totally explore without any wrong answers. We are able to experiment and today I'm gonna be talking a lot about experimentation. I think the way we play as adults is by setting up tiny experiments, right? When we try something out, we don't know if it's gonna work or not. And there's no wrong answer because the art is in the means, not the end, right? The art is in the actual trying and that is what it is to play as an adult. There are so many benefits of play. I mean, I could have listed dozens and dozens of bullet points here, but just a few. They find that play increases focus during our work. Students who have had great play time during recess are better able to learn in class. So play is not a distraction, it's not an exception from work. It actually amplifies our work. Play helps us be more creative, play helps us with others, right? Every time we play with them, we're able to get more into their feelings, especially make-believe when we were a little. Play is the easiest way to burn calories. I don't know if you've ever heard this, but you're playing a game, you don't even realize you're exercising. And I love the study from 2009. So they found that the more physical activity tests students can pass, in other words, the faster they can run a mile, the more pushups they can do, the more pull ups they can do. The more likely they are to do well on academic tests. There seems to be a correlation, we don't know about causation, but a correlation between the two. So this tells us that play is not a wasted activity. Let's do a couple of questions. I'm going to get your cards ready. I have a couple of these in a row. So, do you have enough play in your life? Does anyone feel like they do? All right a couple of people. All right, mostly reds, but a couple of greens, which is great. How about, do you have free ti... If you have free time, do you know exactly how to spend it? Mixed. (member of audience mumbles) Do ya? That's a good one. (laughs) Let's do one at a time. Okay. When you have free time, do you know how to spend it? When you have free time, do you actually spend it the way that you want? Interesting (laughs) interesting nuance of a question. Do you have fun regularly? And when that's regularly, whatever that means to you. Very curious, little evenly split, okay. So at home I hope what I have done in your workbook 'cause we are gonna start our next big activity. And this is Playstorming. This is pillar number three in your workbook. So I have a couple of different warmup activities. Do you have enough play in your life? We just asked the audience, but actually I want you to go in depth on those warmup play activities and figure out exactly where play is in your life. Now I want you to turn to your Playstorming page. This is a very long list. So the biggest complaint or confusion that I would get when I would tell people, I'm starting to talk about happiness is they would say, "I just don't even know where to start. "I have no idea." Or I would say, "Okay, let's think about a talent." And they would say, "I'm a good listener." And I would say, "Okay, what could you do "to use that skill more?" Blank, so I developed this based on your skill chart to have hundreds of activities to start to think about. So what I want you to do, there's a couple of different things with this Playstorming chart. One is I want you to go to your foreign fives, the skills that you ranked quite highly. And I want you to think about what activities could you do to exercise those skills and I want you to play with the ideas and the steps, right? The whole point of this exercise is question. Maybe you're not sure if something will work or not, and that's okay too. Here's how we're gonna code it. A check mark on this list means you already do it, okay? So you already, this is a part of your life and you already do it. A plus mark means you want to do more of it. So it sounds like an activity that you would like, no questions asked, you would want to do more of that activity. A minus means not for me, right? Might exercise a skill, but this activity doesn't really interest me. And a question Mark, this is the really exciting ones, means maybe, right? Maybe this could work, I'm not, I haven't tried it or I'm not sure I wanna try it again. I used to do this and I'm not sure. Let me give you an example. So one of the skills from your Skill chart is openness. Was anyone really, was openness really high for anyone? Four or five, okay, good. I think also, I knew that people would be here today probably would have a lot of high openness. So high openness, that was the skill. Let's pretend that you had a four or five on openness. Here are the activities that I have ideas for you. Ask a bartender to help you find your favorite cocktail. So let's say, "Oh yeah, I already do this. "I constantly ask recommendations from bartenders "and wait staff, I already do that a lot." Pick out one magazine you've never read. You know I'm not into reading. I'm trying, not into reading magazines, I'm trying to save paper. Like for example, I just recently canceled all my magazine subscriptions. This one, not for me, right. But make a list of all the restaurants in your zip code that you haven't tried. Ooh, now that's something I could try on Yelp. I would like to do more of that, right? Oh, I think I flipped them actually. So plus sign means you want to do more of it. This means you've already tried all the restaurants. Create or find your signature scent. Huh, that is something that I've never tried, but that could be a fun one to research, right? So I want you to go through this list and start to code each of these things with these plus, minuses and check marks. You'll also notice beneath each skill, I have blanks. So I have what are ways you could try to exercise this skill in your life? In the skill chart, I asked you what you already do. In the Playstorming chart, I'm gonna to ask you, what could you do? If you're having trouble with this section, if you're looking at these and you're just drawing a blank on the blanks, I want you to think, what would you advise your friend to do, If they asked you, how could I do this? I love this quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes. "Men do not quit playing because they grow old. "They grow old because they quit playing." Play keeps us young, it keeps that freedom going. How many of you felt like when you were doing this list and you thought of your activities, it actually got you kind of excited to think about doing them? So as I was even writing this list and some of those things wouldn't even appeal to me, I got excited, right? It gets you excited because it triggers that hope and that curiosity, which is an essential part of happiness. So here's what we're gonna do after you fill out your entire Playstorming chart, I want you to pick one to three. So if one feels like a lot, that's totally fine. If one doesn't feel like enough, three at the most. I want you to pick one to three question marks or pluses of all and hopefully in your skill area, so we can stay using your natural talent. I want you to pick some ones that you can experiment with, a little experiment that you can set up for yourself. What could make me feel? That's kind of what you' re thinking. What could make me feel excited? What could make me feel capable. proud, silly, playful, happy? If you can try to have one of those be a potential failure. And by that, I mean, some of these aren't gonna work and that's exactly what you wanna know. It's the process, the experiment of trying it, that's what play is. So if you can pick one of those where you' re like, "Wow, I could really not like this, "but I could also really love it." One of those for me for example, is Tango. So I had heard a lot about Tango. One of my friends take this Tango classes in Portland and she's like, "Come and do Tango with me." And I was like, "I don't know, like, "that's like really close with strangers "and you know all these things." And she's like, "And you have to follow." And I was like, "I am not good at that, you know, "like I am, I don't know if I can do that. "It's like it takes total trust in a stranger." So I went to this class and I was like, "This could be the worst thing I've ever done "or the best thing I've ever done." And as I was doing it, I thought to myself, "This is the best thing I've ever done. "And the worst thing I've ever done." (laughs) (audience laughs) I actually had that feeling while doing it. And now I'm kind of addicted to it because it's totally out of my comfort zone, but it also pushes me out of my comfort zone. And I'm not an adrenaline junkie. So I encourage you to find activities where you're really on the edge, that is what a true happiness experiment is.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Desktop Backgrounds
Best Future Selves
Citation List
Happiness Audit
Happiness Benefits
Happiness Means Forgiveness
Happiness Scripts
Happiness Structure
Happy Calendar
Happy Reading List
K10 Test For Distress
Partner In Joy
Power of Happiness Workbook
The 4 Motivators
The Giving Warmup
Virtual Toolbox