Don’t forget to play!
Why adults need to remember the joys of play
When we were teenagers, we wanted to be seen older than we were. And then, when we hit our twenties, we were suddenly thrust into the adult world where we were expected to act “mature” and fit into what society expected of grownups. Sure, physically our bodies mature with age but that doesn’t mean can’t have fun and play. We seem to have forgotten the importance of joyful play or even how to play.
We put away our toys, our books, our games. Adult responsibilities take over and our time is filled with “to do” lists and “busyness”. There’s just no time to play. And with everything else taking priority, we don’t feel it’s important… we feel it’s a waste of time! And even if we do find the time to play, we feel judged by others as being immature, goofy, or just silly.
The sadness in this, is that play is important at any age. Repeating the same chores each and every day, whether at work, maintaining our home or caring for our family increases stress and reduces our overall happiness in life. It’s ironic that at a point in our lives when we need to play the most, we play the least.
Playing has so many benefits including
- It promotes more smiling and laughter which leads to more joy
- It helps as to relax
- It increases our creativity and imagination
- It recharges us
- It increases our energy
- It is emotionally balancing
- It can trigger the secretion of BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). This is a substance necessary for brain cell growth.
- It stimulates growth in our cerebral cortex
- It improves memory
- It releases endorphins which trigger positive feelings in the body. This can help relieve stress and depression. Endorphins are also a natural pain reliever
- Playing while exercising can make exercising more fun
- It helps us to become more productive in our jobs and in our life; and
- It improves our overall wellbeing.
How do we relearn how to play again?
The first and most important step is to start. Try to remember back to when you were a child.
- What did you like to do?
- Did you like to play with others?
- Did you like to play on your own?
- What type of play did you enjoy?
Here are just a few examples to help get you started:
- Run around under a sprinkler
- Blow bubbles
- Colour in
- Play a silly game of soccer
- Play a board game
- Paint, or even better, finger paint
- Write a story using your imagination
- Play with Lego or Mecano
Or my personal favourites are
- Play the Thank You Game – say Thank You every time someone does something nice for you. Keep track and notice how many times you can say Thank You in one day. See if you can beat your score. (You can check out my previous article here)
- Play the Smile Game. How many people can you smile at today? Keep track and see if you can beat your score. It’s a lot harder to be depressed when your body is showing the signs of joy and happiness. (You can check out me previous article here)
- The Meditation Game. Allow yourself to go on a journey to where-ever you mind wants to take you. It could be back to your childhood, to another country or even another planet. There are no restrictions on where your imagination can take you.
And then when you have spent some time in play, notice how much more vibrant and youthful you feel. You will also notice that you are genuinely smiling more and joy will naturally radiate out.
Allow yourself to be a kid again and find the joy in play.
And remember, Happiness Starts with a Smile and Empowerment Starts with a Choice!
You can start to play again by grabbing my Relax and Restore eBook here.
And if you want even more tools to help you relax and boost creativity your can check out my YouTube video by clicking here.
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