Do you remember it? Can you recall the feeling? That time in your life when everything was possible? That time in your life when if you were asked by a grown-up who you were and you answered “Superman” and believed it. When you couldn’t wait to finish whatever boring task you were involved in because your toys were calling you to play?
Somewhere between our teenage years and adulthood most of us have forgotten how to play. Our switch from just enjoying life to focusing on our career path and conforming to the standards society has imposed on us has beaten the play out of us.
When we play as adults we temporarily allow ourselves to access that special place in our minds as we did when we were children where all that’s important is having a good time.
Benefits of play
Stress relief – Endorphin release leading to enhanced mood and even pain relief
Creativity – Many forms of play require spontaneity and original thought promoting neural plasticity
Brain function – Play often comes in the form of learning or puzzles which reinforce neural pathways
Relationships – Connections to others improve our sense of self-worth
Vitality – Many play activities come in the form of physical tasks which improve special awareness, balance and co-ordination
Workout – Unless you are a professional sportsperson the gym is probably the only place where you can roll around on the floor and jump up and down in public without turning heads. Enjoy it!
Engage in functional training – Functional training often involves balance, co-ordination and skill all of which are fundamentals of physical play
Play with children or pets – This allows you to be creative and spontaneous
Host game nights with friends or at a club – This reinforces your social network which is another essential component of overall health
Talk to strangers – This can be a great way to meet new people and be playful in nature.