Why play is essential – regardless of your age
Play is for kids, right? Or is it? As you grow up and become an adult, play is no longer something you prioritise or consider as an important part of your life. Despite it being crucial in your development as a child, helping you to develop communication skills, adapt to change and understand relationships to name a few benefits, we reach a certain age and blindly accept that play is far too childish for us.
But could we have got it wrong? What if the joy of play has been designed to last a lifetime? Research is showing that this is true, and that play is just as crucial for our health and wellbeing as adults as it was when we were kids, let’s explore how.
1. It helps you release stress
When you play and laugh (which tend to go hand in hand!) you release endorphins – those natural feel-good, warm fuzzy chemicals that increase your sense of happiness and overall wellbeing.
2. It increases creativity
When you play, you shift your mind’s focus and enter a more relaxed state. This enables your mind to open and be free of distraction, so that creativity can flow. As I’m sure you’ve experienced, when you focus your attention away from your daily routine and work, you often get your best ideas.
3. It keeps you young
George Bernard Shaw says “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Being young at heart also leads to being young in body. Playing helps us to remain more youthful; it boosts our energy, vitally and helps to improve our body’s resistance levels.
4. It changes your perspective
In playful situations, you take on a broader view of the world around you. Your perceptions change, and you can become aware of opinions and behaviours that you may not necessarily see in your day-to-day routine.
5. It encourages you to be present
With the frantic nature of our lives, combined with the endless distractions we are exposed to, we struggle to be present in the moment and fully engage. Play brings us back to basics, allowing us to be present and focused, to use our full range of communication skills and develop our leadership qualities by supporting others during play.
6. It can enhance relationships
Play is a great way to increase bonding with those around you. It can help to reduce social isolation and increase connection, trust, and intimacy.
7. It can be a fun way to exercise
If you are like most, the minute you hear the word exercise you’d rather be doing anything else. But play can be an interactive, fun form of exercise, so it helps not only your emotional wellbeing, but also your physical wellbeing.
30 play ideas to get you started
Fear that you’ve forgotten how to play? Stop scratching your head and give these 30 ideas a go:
1. Take a hike
2. Go on a road trip
3. Run around with your dog at the dog park
4. Attend a concert
5. Watch a sporting game
6. Throw a party (and why not theme it while you’re at it!)
7. Go to a trivia night
8. Book a camping weekend
9. Go to an amusement park or arcade centre
10. Plan a scavenger hunt
11. Take an art class or do arts and crafts at home
12. Go trampolining
13. Have a board game night
14. Visit the zoo
15. Try go-karting or dodgem cars
16. Play mini-golf
17. Try ice skating or roller skating
18. Go to an outdoor movie night
19. Go dancing
20. Go bike riding
21. Build sandcastles at the beach
22. Climb a tree
23. Colour in
24. Have a water fight
25. Eat an ice cream
26. Watch the clouds go by on a blanket
27. Skim rocks into the water
28. Watch cartoons
29. Go sliding down a hill on cardboard
30. Tell jokes
Your health and wellbeing are crucial to living a long and happy life – so get playing today! Better still rally up your friends to join you, remember the more, the merrier.
Need to relax more to play more? Contact me for a FREE 30-minute consultation. Just imagine how different you will feel in 30-days after getting back to playing!