Step away from your daily grind and GO PLAY! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we have to do that we don’t do anything fun for ourselves. We work, take care of the kids, the home, spouse, parents…. “The level of responsibility most women carry often makes them put play on the back burner”, says Stuart Brown, M.D. author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. We all can think of a friend who may spontaneously act silly, but admit it, this kind of carefree behavior may cause you to raise your eyebrows. But beware, you shouldn’t judge too quickly.
I used to like to walk the mall with friends. It’s good moderate exercise but we also managed to be able to solve the problems of the day at the same time. Occasionally, if an oldie but goodie was playing on the sound system, one of us would just break out and dance in the middle of the mall. Yes, there were stares but we didn’t care. It was just us acting a little crazy for a moment and not taking ourselves so seriously. “Play isn’t a luxury, it’s a biological necessity”, says Dr. Brown, who directs the National Institute for Play. It’s more than just fun and games. The impulse to let loose arises from deep within the brain stem. The same area that controls basic survival functions like breathing.
Researchers believe that play is a fundamental need, crucial to healthy adulthood. The psychological benefits are significant. When you play, you become more exuberant and those temporary good feelings contribute to general state of satisfaction with life. Researchers believe that’s why playful people tend to be more resilient. They are better equipped to weather the ups and downs of life. When you don’t allow yourself to play because you think you’re too busy or too tired or too worried, you’re cutting yourself off from the one best coping mechanisms designed by nature.
Make sure that when you decide to go out and play you are not setting any specific goals for your play because then it may become more like a workout or a competition. Your goals should be to seek the simple pleasure in the experience.
Even though it’s great to take time for things like meeting a friend for coffee or enjoying a glass of wine, these things don’t provide the same exhilaration and wheeeeee factor as playtime.
So lighten up, set aside some time, and go play!!!!