Do you remember when life was an adventure? When we couldn’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning and begin exploring? Everything was exciting, and play was at the center of our lives! Until we “grew up” that is, and play was considered more of a luxury, replaced by productivity, making a living and all of the pressure that comes along with adulthood.
What if play is absolutely essential to our well-being, happiness and success in life?
Recent studies are showing this to be true. Rather than being a diversion from our lives, it’s a complex and unique engagement with it! When we embrace play we:
- Claim a better quality of life for ourselves
- Decrease stress
- Connect better with those around us and become more present
- Increase creative potential
- Improve immune system function
Stuart Brown, a psychologist who has devoted decades to studying play in cultures across the world, calls play a “profound biological process” and presents evidence that play continually shapes the brain throughout our lifetime. Many innovative CEOs (Google, Amazon), went to play-focused Montessori schools where the difference in the educational method came down to the “joy of discovery”, the interest in going down all kinds of roads, experimenting, and “letting the mind run imaginatively.” Without play, we become creatively rigid!
So how can we reclaim more play in our lives? Play can take many forms – anything goes! Be spontaneous. Ask what inspires you. If you lead a relatively sedentary life, active play could be a great addition. If you already lead an active lifestyle, simply reading a book could be fun and pleasurable! Have fun with it, break out of the normal routine, try something new!