A Time to Play

From the pandemic to the intense political strife, things can feel very serious right now. 

When our circumstances feel serious, it can be easy to get wrapped up in it all and feel overwhelmed. While there are lots of antidotes to overwhelm and negative emotions, one of the most useful (an often most overlooked) is PLAY!

Most people are familiar with the importance of play in the development of children, yet play is also extremely beneficial for adults. Unfortunately, the society we live in does not give adults much permission to play. As researcher Stuart Brown says, “ Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, most of us exchange play for work, and forget to play with the abandon and joy of childhood.” 

Recent research, however, is showing us that adult play is extremely beneficial.

Play has the power to:

reduce stress

re-establish trust and safety

release endorphins

improve brain functioning and memory

increase energy

stimulate creativity

And if that is not enough to convince you, there’s also this: 

PLAY IS FUN!

So how can we engage play as an adult? 

Play will most likely look different as an adult, but the fundamental elements are often similar. Play researcher Stuart Brown recommends starting with reflecting on the type of play you enjoyed back as a child and connecting it to your life now. 

Here are some examples:

-If you loved to experiment as a child, you could prioritize trying new cooking or baking recipes and playing with the ingredients.

If you were highly active as a child and loved running around, you could incorporate organized sports into your schedule. 

If you loved to do arts and crafts, you could take some time to paint, draw, or do a d.i.y. project. 

If you loved to explore as a kid, you can incorporate trying a new restaurant or going on a hike you’ve never been on before. 

The possibilities are endless!

The idea is to take the essence of the play you enjoyed as a child and somehow work it into your life now. Even incorporating a small amount of play into your daily routine can have profound effects.

Play around with it! I have a feeling the results of this simple action will astonish you and bring some wonder and joy into your weeks. 

**The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

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