“Be like a child – clear, loving, spontaneous, infinitely flexible and ready each moment to wonder and accept a miracle.”
“Just because we’re adults, that doesn’t mean we have to make life all about work. Learn how play can benefit your relationships, job, and mood.
In our hectic, modern lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stopped playing… But play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well.
Playing with your romantic partner, friends, co-workers, pets, and children is a sure (and fun) way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being. Adult play is a time to forget about work and commitments, and to be social in an unstructured, creative way.
Play could be simply goofing off with friends, sharing jokes with a coworker, throwing a Frisbee on the beach, dressing up on Halloween with your kids, building a snowman in the yard, playing fetch with a dog, acting out charades at a party, or going for a bike ride with your spouse with no destination in mind. There doesn’t need to be any point to the activity beyond having fun and enjoying yourself. By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, you can reap oodles of health benefits throughout life.
The benefits of play
While play is crucial for a child’s development, it is also beneficial for people of all ages…
- Relieve stress.
- Improve brain function, prevent memory problems and ward off depression.
- Stimulate the mind and boost creativity.
- Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others.
- Keep you feeling young and energetic.
Play and relationships
Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. Playing together brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Play can also heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Through regular play, we learn to trust one another and feel safe.
Trust enables us to work together, open ourselves to intimacy, and try new things. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humor and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your love relationships—as well as your connections with co-workers, family members, and friends.
- Play helps develop and improve social skills.
- Play teaches cooperation with others and is a powerful catalyst for positive socialization.
- Play can heal emotional wounds.
How to play more
Incorporating more fun and play into your daily life can improve the quality of your relationships, as well as your mood and outlook. Even in the most difficult of times, taking time away from your troubles to play or laugh can go a long way toward making you feel better.
It’s true what they say: laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter makes you feel good. And the positive feeling that comes from laughter and having fun remains with you even after the giggles subside. Play and laughter help you retain a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
Develop your playful side
It’s never too late to develop your playful, humorous side. If you find yourself limiting your playfulness, it’s possible that you’re self-conscious and concerned about how you’ll look and sound to others when attempting to be lighthearted.
Fearing rejection, embarrassment or ridicule when trying to be playful is understandable. Adults often worry that being playful will get them labeled as childish. But what is so wrong with that? Children are incredibly creative, inventive and are constantly learning. Wouldn’t you want to be childish if that is the definition? Remember that as a child, you were naturally playful; you didn’t worry about the reactions of other people. You can reclaim your inner child… The more you play, joke, and laugh—the easier it becomes….”
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- Image 2 from The Benefits of Play for Adults
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