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Have Fun, Stay Young

May 4, 2012, 6:06 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Have Fun, Stay Young

With all the house work, bills, kids activities and crazy work schedules, it might feel like you don't have time to do anything fun. But researchers say cutting fun out of your life can take a serious toll on your health.

In fact, just adding a good laugh to your day can make you eight years younger physically.

Trista Olinger May be 22-years-old but she still finds time to play. That includes coloring.

"I remember I won a coloring contest once for Easter, and I was hooked," Olinger said.

While Olinger's doodles may seem like a waste of time for some, Mental Health Counselor Mary Dressing says that's not the case.

"Well, you don't have time to not do that. You can't afford not to do that, I should say," Sanford Mental Health Counselor Mary Dressing says.

Dressing says drawing up time to play can prevent burn-out, depression, anxiety, and stress.

"Because we get really bogged down with the day-to-day responsibilities and it's easy to kind of lose one's self and get into that daily grind," Dressing said.

So what fun activity should you choose? Dressing says one tip is to look into your past to see what you enjoyed before; maybe that's swinging or gardening or even just listening or singing to music.

"Life is too short, so we can't be all business all the time. 'Work hard, play hard' is kind of a motto that I like to go by," Dressing said.

"If you don't have fun in your life, you're just going to get bogged down. You're not going to be able to enjoy the sunrise or the little things in life," Olinger said.

Olinger says it doesn't take a lot of time or money to enjoy the little things in life. Maybe it's a quick walk with the dogs or singing out loud. She also says playing has helped her with her work.

"It's easier to come in and be like 'what can I do to make work fun? What can I do to encourage my co-workers to have fun?' And that way everyone is happy and it's a better place to be,"  Olinger said.

A new American Cancer Society study also finds that women are more likely to exercise if it feels like play.

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