Do you remember what it felt like to play?
It was a spontaneous expression of joy.
You were firmly anchored in the present moment and you didn’t (for one second) worry if you were playing the ‘right’ way or the ‘wrong’ way.
You didn’t think about how to play – you just did it.
You were completely free; exploring, experimenting and taking risks.
You lost track of time and were in the flow.
Aaaaahhhh…now you remember.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
But somehow we forget how to play or think play is just for kids and has no place in our busy, responsibility filled lives.
IS PLAY THE MISSING PIECE?
It might sound strange, but I regularly recommend play to coaching clients. There’s always a moment of silence after I say, “This week add more play to your day!”
It’s followed by a perplexed, questioning, furrowed brow expression that says, Seriously??
Play helps us connect with the most authentic, elemental part of ourselves where our deepest desires live. You can only get there by letting go and letting yourself have fun. Without sufficient play, everything health wise suffers – including cravings, sleep and stress. The more play in your life, the better you’ll feel in your body and soul.
HOW DO WE DEFINE PLAYFULNESS?
Cheerfulness, humour, creativity and expressiveness are defining characteristics of playfulness. When you play you’re without fear, open to the unexpected and willing to embrace new behaviors. Playing takes you out of your head and allows your heart to take the lead. Play lets you step into action, and you need to act to make any desired change in your life.
“Play is something done for its own sake,” says Dr. Stuart Brown, head of the nonprofit National Institute for Play. It’s voluntary, its pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time where the act is more important than the outcome.
HOW DO WE GET MORE PLAY IN OUR LIVES?
Play becomes an important strategy for making changes in your life because it gets you out of your comfort zones allows a reset of your attitude in affirmative, creative, solution-oriented ways. What other activity begs you to surrender so wholeheartedly without having any idea about the outcome? Especially for perfectionist type A’s play is an opportunity let go and have fun.
You can incorporate play anywhere, even in places you might now consider.
SHOULDN’T BEING HEALTHY ALSO BE FUN?
As a society we are brainwashed to think we must work really hard and possibly even suffer to get healthy or bring good into our lives. This just isn’t true. Playfulness becomes the key to health and happiness.
Play can help us:
Break habits and make changes.
Become more creative.
Feel alive we feel more fully engaged sand find pure joy.
WHY DO WE STOP PLAYING WHEN WE GET OLDER?
We fill our lives up with ‘to-dos.’ We take on too much. We overwork. The inner critic tells us others will somehow find us unacceptable if we play. Type A’s want to control everything and play demands surrender.
ACTION: My Challenge to you is to add more play to your day.
22 EASY WAYS TO PLAY
- Get outside – go for walk – keep a bouncy ball in your pocket and use on you walk.
- Have coloring breaks – bring out the coloured pencils, marker or crayon and color away.
- Go to a dance class. Or try a dance exercise type class like Zumba.
- Have a conversation a child between the ages of 4 – 8. Ask them, “I have to learn how to play…What advise could you give me?” If they say ‘I don’t know’ tell them they are a play expert and that’s why you’re asking. Encourage them to think up something. You’ll be surprise by the risks they take with their thinking once they’ve been given the go ahead.
- Go on an adventure with a child? Where would you like to go? What would you like to do? Let them lead.
- Do something with your hands. – Bake. Work with clay. Paint. Swew. Lego?
- Jump on a trampoline
- Try hula hooping.
- Take an everyday household object (i.e. twist tie, paperclip, paper bag,) and come up with 10 alternative uses for it.
- Talk to your pet.
- What did you love to do as a kid? Make a list. Do one a day
- Hang with a kid. They innately know how to have fun and play.
- Ask a lot of questions with a big smile on your face.
- Have a bubble blowing competition
- Get really excited about everything. Just for fun
- Go on an adventure. Just go. Something will happen.
- Have a water fight
- Make it a practice to do really nice things for people who will never find out it was you.
- Sing happy music karaoke style
- Wear different colored sox.
- Play card games. Play Board games.
What are your ideas for play? Please share in the comment box below so we can all share in the FUN!
Please pass this post along to friends who need more play.
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