The Power of Play

Play

As adults, we often forget to play. Perhaps we don’t realize just how important play is for our health and happiness.

When was the last time your sat in a swing and challenged your child to see who could swing the highest? Or, built a sandcastle at the beach? Or, colored with pencils or crayons for the sheer joy of it?

 

One of my favorite things to do is play tag with my grandkids. By the end we are all laughing and, after I’ve rediscovered my breath, we are ready to go again.

According to helpguide.org, play has several benefits:

Play can:

Relieve stress. It’s hard to hold onto all of your cares when you let yourself play.

Improve Brain Function. Play is a natural part of our development, which doesn’t quit because we have become adults. We need to keep our brain in shape as this is the case of ‘use it or lose it.’

Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. When we stop playing, we often stop creating. Get your groove back by finding ways to play in your life.

Improve relationships and your connectivity to others. Perhaps the adage is true, the couple (or friends, family, etc.) that plays together stays together. Find ways to have fun together.

Keeps you feeling young and energetic. I firmly believe when we stop having fun we get old. I also believe that about learning, but that is fun for me, most of the time.

Some ideas to help you begin to play:

  • Games – the ones you sit face to face with people, not the online kind.
  • Coloring
  • Art projects
  • Find some of your old games and toys from when you were a child. One of my favorites is Pick-up-Sticks. I found the game on one of my travels though you can find in many toy stores.
  • Outdoor games. Fly a kite, throw a frisbee, splash in the water, the possibilities are endless.
  • Blow bubbles. Bubbles are fun to do anywhere (yes, including inside the house, it’s just soap after all). Blowing bubbles outside in the winter is fabulous because the bubbles can freeze and are iridescent before they burst into pieces.
  • Dance
  • Doodle – If you struggle with this and need some structure, check out Zentangle.
  • Have a water fight.
  • Sing – it doesn’t matter if you are good or not if you sing in the shower or car no one can hear you anyway.
  • Finger paint
  • Spend some time with a kid exploring their imagination.

It’s easy to get caught up in all your “adult” responsibilities but if you want to find that spark that keeps you young, find some time to add play into your life. Play doesn’t have to end with childhood. The key is to find what works for you.

A recent discovery for me to relax and play is to color mandalas. You can pick up these adult coloring books anywhere, and I would encourage you to pick one up. Mandala’s can be meditative and healing. Not to mention there is no one to tell you to stay in the lines.

Leave a comment with your favorite way to play.