Royce Shook

2 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Do you play?

As I watch the grandkids in the garden, running through the sprinkler I am delighted by their sense of fun and adventure. I got to thinking as adults how often do we experience that same joy and stress? In times of play which can bring us great stress and/or great joy, we are completely surrounded by loved ones wanting to share whatever we are experiencing. If you have a pet, you probably will admit to playing with your pet. You can play on your own or with a pet, but for greater benefits, play should involve at least one other person. Play helps:

Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Improve brain function. Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.

Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—a principle that applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems.

Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to include a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.

Keep you feeling young and energetic. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.

Play and relationships

Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. Playing together brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Play can also heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Through regular play, we learn to trust one another and feel safe. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humour and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your love relationships—as well as your connections with co-workers, family members, and friends.

Play can heal emotional wounds. As adults, when you play together, you are engaging in exactly the same patterns of behaviour that positively shape the brains of children. These same playful behaviours that predict emotional health in children can also lead to positive changes in adults. If an emotionally-insecure individual plays with a secure partner, for example, it can help replace negative beliefs and behaviours with positive assumptions and actions.

So, when you are playing if you can remember to be calm and quiet and go within, you'll feel them, you'll remember them, and you'll benefit most from their presence. 

Do you play?

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