“Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” –Stuart Brown, MD
I teach parents and educators about the importance of play for young children, and I’m coming to realize that play is equally important for adults. Children mostly already know how to play–they just need the opportunities and space to do so. A lot of us adults have forgotten how to play–which can mean just being spontaneous, following a whim to try something new, living life as an adventure, letting our inner child bask in the sparkly, shiny rainbow of a curio shop, or full out going to the playground to swing or run or roll down the grass hill.
If you have children of your own, you have a built in playmate, just waiting for you to engage with them! And if you don’t, you can borrow a friend’s child, take a trip to the park with a dog, or just grab a couple of friends to play an impromptu game of tag. Play helps our brains stay creative and flexible, and connects our right, creative brain with our left, logical brain. We get a burst of new energy through play.
My challenge to you is to think about a few ways you could bring more play into your daily life, and pick at least one to do today. You could try to juggle, do the chicken dance, play charades or have a joke contest. Just do anything silly, fun and not super productive, even if it is only for two minutes. The point is to enjoy the process, the experience, not to get to some outcome. Notice if you’re worried about what other people will think of you. Then do it anyway. Better yet, invite them to join in! Have fun and go play!