Goofing Off Is Good For You
National Goof Off Day 2020, is March 23, but you don’t need to wait until then to get your goof on!
This article will introduce you to the fun-filled, tongue-in-cheek world of what it means to goof off, let go, free yourself. And how not to be so serious all the time.
Why Goof Off?
Letting go, and letting yourself have fun for no reason at all, is reason enough. What?
(Ooops… my mind was goofing off hehehe)
For the uninitiated, goofing off is when you forget about societal, personal and professional expectations and just allow yourself to have some good fun (without hurting yourself or others, of course).
Renowned biologist, naturalist, and author, Douglas Chadwick noted that:
“Goofing around is a pretty widespread mammalian enterprise. Mountain goats seem to specialize in those snow patch slide-’n’-frolic sessions, whirling and tossing their heads, especially after a long snooze on a hot afternoon. One of the grizzlies I watched do repeat slides down a patch was a mother who placed two cubs on her chest and went glissading down on her back, head-first. Someone even sent me a video of a wolverine spin-leaping it’s way down a steep snowfield, obviously just for the hell of it. I’ll bet you’ve done the same. I know I have.”
And, I know I've seen my cat LuLu create games and challenges for herself. When she’s not literally bouncing off the wall that is. Wheee!
Heck, even some major corporations have caught on to the idea that goofing off is good for business. If you’ve ever seen pictures of vast campuses with golf carts, game rooms, resting spaces, and employee activity centers, you know what that looks like.
But, do you know why they do it?
Benefits of Goofing Off
Goofing off comes with a whole bunch of benefits, like, like, like…
Have you ever seen a child playing? They don’t care about what other people say. No way dude! They get into the flow, make up stories, build worlds, and truly live in the moment. What happens when adults try to do this? Hmmmm… we tend to seize up, become self-conscious, anxious, embarrassed and judgemental.
Yikes! It’s not easy letting your guard down, is it? But, when you do, you can actually feel yourself relax. Now, that’s a cool “ahhh-haaa” moment.
Blowing Off Steam
We all know life can get stressful. Most of us run at top speed all day, everyday. Not only is it exhausting, it is dangerous. Pressure builds, but there’s no real way of letting it escape. Even if you have a vigorous workout, it might not be enough. Especially if it’s a rigorous routine that you must follow to achieve your goals… Structure is great, but it can be restrictive too.
Sometimes you just need to “cut loose, footloose.”
Most of the time we live life according to societal norms, rules and regulations. And that’s a good thing. We can’t run amuck all of the time. But, why not break free of the “same-old same-old” and do something spontaneous?
It keeps the brain sparking, the heart pumping and the adrenaline rushing. It will also be a surprise to those who know you, and to yourself. I’m not talking about suddenly going bungee-jumping off a bridge, not at first anyhow. Start with something small, then build up to the grander gestures.
Developing a Sense of Humor
Whoever said, “Laughter is the best medicine” was onto something. Big! What do you feel when you are laughing, or immediately after? Good vibrations and a shift in your energy. Some release. A lightened load. That’s because laughter releases endorphins - the body’s “feel good” chemical.
According to mental health resource HealthMed, “Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.” That’s no joke (see what I did there? wha-wha)
And, when you make others laugh - watch out! The effects can be contagious.
(not so) Official Goofing Off Primer
Are you ready?
Ready to step out of your comfort zone, amuse yourself and others, maybe even ruffle a few feathers along the way?
If you said “yes,” then these “crazy” ideas are for you!
Make Funny Faces
It’s as simple as that. Go ahead, stick your thumbs in your ears, or on your nose. Wiggle the rest of your fingers. Open your eyes and you mouth wide, stick your tongue out. Extend your lips. Be sure to make funny noises to go with your funny faces! This works really well when you’re in a place that doesn’t encourage such behavior (I know, I’m a bad influence. Hehehehe).
BONUS: Making faces is an excellent way of exercising your face muscles, lips and tongue.
Walk Like An Animal
Studies by ecologists, like Mark Beckoff, Ph.D. and others, have revealed that wild and domestic animals love to play just for the sake of playing.
So, why not make like an animal and play like one too? Go ahead, I dare ya. Double dare ya. Next time you’re walking in the park, or grocery shopping, start sniffing the air and running around like a dog. Or, let your arms hang down by your sides and chirp like a chimp.
OK. Maybe you want to start slow, in the privacy of your own den - urrrr - livingroom. The point is, connecting with your animal spirit, or your animal side, is incredibly liberating, fun and silly. It can also be surprisingly enlightening.
Sure, you’ll get some funny looks, and that makes it even funnier!
Playing games like charades or Guess Who with others, can foster community, encourage flexibility, give you a jolt of energy, let you laugh and reconnect with that inner kid who used to play with abandon. Just remember, it’s all about having fun!
Be A Clown
You got me! I can’t tell a joke to save my life. I usually start breaking up way before the punchline. It makes me admire and appreciate comedians even more. That’s not to say I don’t have a sense of humor, I do, I really do. I’m more of a punter of puns, a sage of the sarcastic, a witty weasel, a bon vivant of the bon mot (ok - I'll stop!).
Ignite your sense of humor and “make ‘em laugh!” If you don’t have a joke or believe you aren’t funny, just start laughing. How? Well, fill your abdomen with a quick shots of breath, over and over (don’t hyperventilate), then start to laugh and let it rise and rise and rise… If someone asks what you are laughing at, tell them that you never need an actual reason, and encourage them to try it themselves.
Dance With Yourself
Dancing up a storm doesn’t need to be reserved for weddings (or after you’ve had that extra shot). Not at all. Start bopping around when you’re waiting in line at the bank or supermarket. Standing on a street corner. Stuck in traffic. Hey, if anyone looks at you like you’re crazy (and they will), let yourself dance with even more abandon. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone, direct excess energy in a positive way and release stress.
If you start to get self-conscious, remember the words of uber-cool Rock God Billy Idol:
Oh oh, Dancing with a-myself,
Oh, oh, dancing with myself
Well, there's nothing to lose
And there's nothing to prove, well,
Dancing a-with myself
No one’s gonna argue with that! And, if they do, just shoot them a Billy Idol snarl and keep on dancin’.
Call Yourself Another Name
Have you ever wanted to be someone else? At one point or another we all have. So, pick a name, any name, and a personality to match. Then, introduce the world to your new alter-ego. Role playing 101.
Jump in Puddles
This one is totally juvenile, infantile even. Hurray for that. Next time you see a nice, juicy, wet puddle don’t hesitate to splash around in it. Hey, might as well pretend to be a duck while you’re at it. Quack-quack!
As you’re walking down the street, start to skip. Skip a few inches, then a few feet, then a few blocks. It’s fun, freeing and fantastic. Oh! What a wonderful day.
There are so many ways to goof off, I had to stop myself from writing. I want to make some faces now anyway. Or maybe start dancing. Or both. Oooh… there’s a puddle…
Let us know how you like to goof off in the comment section below.
Remember, it’s all about letting yourself have fun! Get to it.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for upcoming posts.
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