Watching children play often takes us back to simpler times when life was less serious and all about having fun. Unfortunately, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we 'grew up' and became more responsible. Play became a thing of the past as we busily pursued our careers, family commitments and financial stability.
But imagine if we could incorporate play to enhance our adult lives! To relive those carefree childhood moments when we became so focused and engrossed in the activity that nothing else mattered but the play itself.
Given this and the many positive benefits of play, perhaps it's time to reclaim this basic human need back for ourselves!
Some of the benefits of play
Helps to relieve stress
Play offers a sense of engagement and pleasure which takes the participant out of a sense of time and space, and fully focused on the activity at hand. The experience of doing, then becomes more important than the outcome, resulting in a state of flow as we become fully immersed in the game.
Boosts creativity and passion
Play stimulates our creative minds and unleashes our imagination. It stops us from being rational, analytical adults and allows us to be silly and free spirited, opening us up to new experiences and new ideas.
Sharing experiences which involve laughter and fun with friends and family triggers the release of 'feel good' endorphins, building trust and promoting a sense of belonging and community.
Increases energy levels
Physical play keeps us feeling young and energetic as it helps to restore our vitality, support our immune system and boost energy levels for the rest of the day.
Improves brain function
Games and puzzles, crosswords and chess can challenge the brain, forming new neural pathways and helps to prevent some of the decline that comes with age.
Physical play helps tire us out and allows us to sleep more soundly at night, waking up less and having more restorative deep sleep. It also assists our natural circadian rhythm because our energy levels start to fall naturally at an earlier time after getting out and playing outside.
Here are a few ways that you can become more playful in your adult life:
- Play like a child by engaging in activities such as hopscotch, hoola hoop, swinging, chasey or hide and seek.
- Try new things and experience the unexpected.
- Sing and dance just for the fun of it.
- Spend time with children, listen to their conversations and participate in their imaginary games.
- Make a daisy chain necklace.
- Play games such as charades or Pictionary.
- Stop taking life so seriously.
- Plan to make play an important part of your day.