As spring is right around the corner (or so I hope), my need to play is rising up within me. I remember as a child coming home from school, doing my homework quickly and then running outside to play before dinner time. Just to be outdoors in the sun and fresh air was so playful and inspiring. My imagination grew each time my brother & I played army throwing pinecones at each other. Or when my sisters and I played ‘house’ and created a real live home in the woods with old odds and ends of furniture, pots & pans to help make it come alive.
Play is an important part of everyone’s childhood, as well as a key component in adulthood. Research has shown that embracing your playful side in all that you do can help you become more productive and more creative. Play brings joy into your life freeing you up from angst and worry. It’s a way to escape from the pressures and stresses of life.
Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. He writes, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.”
How do you play?
Soccer icon David Beckham plays with Legos.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron loves Angry Birds.
Jessica Alba’s board game of choice is Apples to Apples.
At the end of April, my Mom and I are taking a ‘Mystery Trip’ with a travel group. Needless to say, I think I am more concerned and intrigued than she is by where we will be going, what will I wear, will it be hot or cold, rainy or snowy … the list goes on. She has adopted the fun of not knowing, playing in the moments of being surprised.
If you think you’ve forgotten how to play, simply delve into your memories and try to recall how you liked to play as a child, and then experiment with what sounds fun. Whether it’s painting, singing, roller-skating, crafting, storytelling, or playing a game of tug a war with your dog, you’ll forget that you’ve discovered an effective stress buster because you’ll be having too much fun.
Putting play into your everyday life is one of the greatest ways to increase productivity, creativity and overall happiness. What will you do today to play?