I am savoring some time with my nephew over the holidays.

When I reflect on the hours in his day, most of them involve some sort of play.

My sister's household also has two dogs, and in watching them I am struck by how much time the two spend soft biting one another and chasing each other around. 

If life shows us so many examples of play, why is it that adults spend less time in this mode and more hours obsessing about the past, future, finances, and time management--to name a few?

Dr. Stuart Brown, head of a nonprofit called the National Institute for Play defines play as something that's done for its own sake. It's voluntary, pleasurable, and offers a sense of engagement into what it is that really you enjoy. It takes you out of a sense of time and the act or the experience of play itself is more important than the outcome*.

When we play it has benefits, such as keeping up memory and sharpening thinking skills. It also increases wellbeing and positive mood, reduces depression, and can boost creativity and work efficiency.

Have you turned into an overly serious person who has forgotten that even as a grown up you need some time to let your hair down and play?

Reignite this amazing need and capability we all have today:

  • Put on your favorite dance song and move your body
  • Invite friends to your place for a board game night
  • Go to an arcade, play video games, miniature golf, laser tag, or go carting
  • Wrestle or tickle a close friend or your beloved 
  • Join an extracurricular sports team 
  • Spread some large white paper on the ground with newspaper underneath, get some non-toxic washable color, paint with your hands, feet, body. 

Ask your friends for more ideas on how they like to play, make a large resource list, and use it! 


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