Buy a trampoline and jump on it. I don’t mean that as a metaphor; I don’t mean that as a suggestion. I mean it literally. Buy a trampoline, put your favorite upbeat song on, and jump.
As adults, we forget true joy and the feeling of being free-spirited. We forget and ignore the Tigger within that once lived there when we were children. As adults, we are bogged down by bills, taxes, the worry about our professional future, the fear of something happening to our children, our aging parents, and our many insecurities and to-do lists. This is not mentioning the car that cut us off, the person who skipped the line, and the guy on the community Facebook page who keeps taunting everyone. We create and reinforce the habit and the idea that adulting is hard and serious work. Joy, happiness, free-spiritedness aren’t usually words associated with “being an adult.”
Work Well is usually an article that gives you broad ideas on how to create a better mindset toward work and life. I tell you to add another thing to your to-do list in hopes that you’ll create a bit of mental space. Mental space is intangible. Your habitual mindset is intangible. This article is literal and tangible.
Buy a trampoline. Jump on the trampoline for three minutes.
Studies show the benefits of trampoline use. In elderly patients, mini-trampoline use improved the ability to regain balance by increasing the rate of hip movement generation (Fernando Amancio Aragao). In athletes with functional ankle instability, it proved as an effective tool for improving balance (Dawson J. Kidgell, Deanna M. Horvath, Brendan M. Jakson, Philip J. Seymour). In patients with Type 2 diabetes, it served as a useful management approach in management of cardiovascular risk (Nuhu, JM, Maharah SS). In addition, there are several trampoline exercise programs that increase strength and cardiovascular health.
Don’t do it for any of the reasons above. I mean, sure, it’s good for you, but so is eating broccoli and spinach. Don’t do it because it’s good for you. Don’t make it a “to-do list” item.
Do this for fun, not for exercise, not for cardio, not because I’m telling you to do it. Do it for the fun of it. Do it so you can play.
Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, author of Play, calls play a catalyst that can go a long way toward boosting not only our productivity but our happiness. Happiness and joy can be cultivated. Imagine joy as a muscle that can be flexed and worked on. When we ignore joy or don’t flex our “joy muscle,” we lose it. We lose touch of it. As we begin to flex it, we notice more opportunities to use our “joy muscle.” We spread joy into the other areas of our life. Instead of reinforcing the habitual mindset that adulting efforts are hard, have fun and reinforce the joyful mindset within. By simply flexing our joy muscle while bouncing freely, we increase our capability to allow joy to ripple into the rest of our day and eventually the rest of our life.
“Adulting” is not necessarily “fun,” but it can be. Adulting can be joyful and can have moments of exuberance and play. It is how we view “adulting,” it is how we wake up each day, and it is recognizing that we choose how to see the day. We choose how to see the many aspects of life that continue to appear.
In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg says, “Almost all the patterns that exist in most people’s lives – how we eat and sleep and talk to our kids, how we unthinkingly spend our time, attention and money – those are habits that we know exist. And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and responsibility – to remake them. If you believe you can change – if you make it a habit – the change becomes real. This is the real power of habit; the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.”
So go buy a trampoline, bounce, and live a happier life!