Play means to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
How does play relate to wellness, you might ask? Well, play is vital to human development, lowering stress levels, and increasing creativity.
- Researcher Stuart Brown, MD believes that play is at the core of creativity and innovation. When we’re in a relaxed and playful mood, It’s easier to learn a new task, complete a task, or solve a problem. He points out that play can mean snorkeling, scrap booking or solving crossword puzzles; it’s anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born.
Also, when we play, we are more likely to engage in laughter because we’re having fun. Laughter enlivens us. Both literally and figuratively.
- Research has shown laughter reduces levels of stress hormones, increases infection-fighting antibodies, and also improves blood flow to the heart, all resulting in greater relaxation and resistance to disease as well as improved mood and positive outlook.
William Glasser, an American Psychiatrist says that there are five basic human needs:
- Survival (shelter, food, water, basics needed to live)
- Love and belonging (feeling like we are connected to friends, family, or a group)
- Power (feeling like we’re good at something, that we have a strength, purpose, or contribution)
- Freedom (sense of autonomy and choice)
- Fun (laughter, play, and exciting experiences)
This quote from Brene Brown illustrates the importance of taking a stand of play beautifully, “If we want to live a wholehearted life, we have to become intentional about cultivating rest and play, and we must work to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”
So, let’s get intentional about play! Your experiment is to think of hobbies, experiences, or things that bring you joy and add at least one to your weekly calendar. Remember, if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real (and not likely to happen).
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