When I ask any audience about the value of Happiness, they quickly create a long list of positive outcomes. Among these are better relationships and health, lower stress, and higher
productivity and creativity.
What if I told you there was something that could give you all the above PLUS make you more flexible and adaptable? And make your brain work better?
You knew how to do it when you were younger, but you forgot. It’s called Play.
Play Builds Skills For Life
Play is activity that has no real purpose. It is unstructured, unsupervised, and unscored. You do it just because it’s fun, and time passes quickly when you get engaged. And just as tossing around a ball builds skills that later show up in a real game, so too Play builds skills that later show up in Real Life.
Here are six ideas to Play more:
- Laugh. It releases feel-good chemicals (endorphins), suppresses stress hormones, and
strengthens your immune system.
- Do something with your hands (no keyboard or phone). Painting, writing, manual work,
or even crafting can induce a state of flow.
- Get Down. Chairs are for adults. Whether you read a book, watch TV, work on your iPad, or
eat dinner, it will feel more fun when you sit on the floor to do it. Bonus points if you do it with
a dog, cat, or small child.
- Pull out a board game or jigsaw puzzle. Even if you don’t finish, the conversation builds
relationships and invites storytelling.
- Move your body. Varying positions improves blood flow to your brain and improves cardiovascular health, while movement releases stress and generates more of those endorphins!
- Get Creative. Many a parent has been disappointed when they offer a newly assembled toy
but the child plays with the box. Play is less about stimulation than it is about imagination. Provoke yours. Dress up, dress down, try a new food, join a group, or pick up that karaoke microphone.
No one’s keeping score – it’s just Play!
P.S. See below for proof that when it comes to Play, I practice what I teach.