What makes 'true fun' and how to spot 'fake fun'

What is "true" fun? To find out, science journalist Catherine Price asked thousands of people around the world to describe their most fun and enjoyable experiences. Through her research, she discovered a common thread: a magical blend of playfulness, connection, and flow. In this TED video, Price offers insights on how to genuinely feel joy and how to spot the signs of "fake" fun. She says, "There was something really powerful about what people were sharing with me that went way beyond this lighthearted pleasure sense with which we often use the word."

TL;DR: Real fun is not frivolous, it's important for our well-being!

Avoid 'fake' fun when possible:

Fake fun is a term I came up with to describe products and services that are marketed to us as fun but that aren't actually fun in the sense that they don't actually produce playfulness, connection or flow. The biggest culprit here is definitely social media and kind of — or passive consumption past the point of enjoyment. So if you're watching your favorite show for a couple episodes, great. But if you're like, in that zone where you're actually completely hypnotized and seven hours have past and you feel disgusting about yourself and your life, you've fallen into the trap of fake fun. So I see it as there being actually three categories. You've got true fun, the playful connected flow. You've got fake fun, which is essentially the junk food of our leisure time. It's very appealing, but it leaves us feeling disgusting about ourselves. There's a big middle category of stuff that's truly enjoyable, but that wouldn't necessarily qualify as true fun by the definition I've proposed. And that would be things like reading, you know, or like taking a bath or watching your favorite TV show up to the point where it's still enjoyable. To me, those are all legitimate great uses of your leisure time, even if they're not fun because you know you actually enjoy them. And the reason I think it's important to think so intellectually about fun is that it helps us become much more intentional about how we use our leisure time.