Why Having Fun Provides Some of the Best Stress Relief

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Many people have stressful responsibilities that they must take care of, to the point that having fun feels like an unnecessary luxury. However, including fun activities in life may be one of the best stress relief tips you can follow.

While many responsible adults have adult-sized responsibilities that make it easy to put fun on the low end of the priorities list, letting your inner child come out to play can keep you feeling vital and happy.

There are many benefits of having good old fun, so read on and get inspired to play and relax today (even if just for a short time) and see how you feel.

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Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast featuring psychologist Dr. Mike Rucker shares how you can start having more fun in life. Click below to listen now.

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Fun activities provide a source of eustress, the 'good' kind of stress that keeps you feeling vital and alive. It's the sense of excitement you get from completing a project, riding a roller coaster, or meeting an exciting challenge in your life. We need regular eustress in our lives, and fun activities can provide that.

Positive Attitude

Having regular fun in your life can help you feel less overwhelmed by the stressors you face. This can help you change your attitude toward your lifestyle stressors so that you're less reactive to stress when you experience it.

The 'Best Medicine'

Laughter carries many health benefits with it, so the more laughter you have in your life, the better it is for your health.


It might be hard to hit the gym multiple times a week or forgo unhealthy 'comfort foods' when you're stressed, but fitting more fun and laughter into your life is something you can do for yourself that's also easy!

Strong Relationships

Couples who engage in new activities together and have regular fun together may enjoy a closer bond than they otherwise would if they fell into a rut.

A healthy relationship can be a great source of stress relief in your life.

Social Support

Likewise with friends, sharing fun activities with friends is a great way to maintain a supportive circle of buddies, keeping your bonds strong and helping everyone in the group keep stress levels low. Having strong friendships in your life, and a sense of community has been linked with longevity, lower stress levels, and more positive states of health.

Burnout Buffering

Having regular fun activities to spice up your life can also help you stave off burnout. Feelings of burnout can result from having a stressful job with unpredictable, hard-to-meet expectations and little recognition. One of the methods I've always endorsed for finding relief from this type of job stress is to give yourself small rewards or start a group of supportive friends to high-five each other when they accomplish goals that would otherwise go unrecognized. Giving yourself a regular dose of fun is a way to do that, and share it with friends.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tikkamaki K, Heikkila P, Ainasoja M. Positive Stress and Reflective Practice Among Entrepreneurs. J Entrepreneurship Manag Innov. 2016;12(1):35-56.

  2. Greene CM, Morgan JC, Traywick LS, Mingo CA. Evaluation of a Laughter-based Exercise Program on Health and Self-efficacy for Exercise. Gerentol. 2017;57(6):1051-1061. doi:10.1093/geront/gnw105

  3. Umberson D, Montez JK. Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. J Health Soc Behav. 2010;51 Suppl:S54-S66. doi:10.1177/0022146510383501

  4. Maslach C, Leiter MP. Understanding the burnout experience: Recent research and its implications for psychiatryWorld Psychiatry. 2016;15(2):103-111. doi:10.1002/wps.20311

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.