5 compelling reasons why we need play in our lives
Do you think play is meant for children only? Think again. Play can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well. Playing with your co-workers, friends, and children is a fun way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and improve your mental health.
Why should adults make time for play?
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’ve stopped playing. Adult play is a time to forget about work and commitments, and to be social in an unstructured, creative way. The focus of play is on the actual experience, not on accomplishing any goal.
There doesn’t need to be any point to the activity beyond having fun and enjoying yourself. Play could be simply goofing off with friends, sharing jokes with a co-worker, throwing a frisbee on the beach or going for a bike ride with your spouse with no destination in mind. By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, you can reap the myriad of health benefits throughout life.
The benefits of play
Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.
Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Improve brain function
Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.Stimulate the mind and boost creativity
Young children often learn best when they are playing—and that principle applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and problem solve.
Improve relationships and your connection to others
Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to be a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.
Keep you feeling young and energetic
In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you feel your best.
Play is also one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships both, personal and working, fresh and exciting. Playing together for the fun of it brings joy 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. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humor and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your relationships—as well as your connections with co-workers, family members, and friends.