Do you remember the days of Barbie dolls, Slinkies, running with our pets, puppet shoes, finger painting, drawing, singing, tossing a ball, silly putty, daydreaming, telling stories, hopscotch… those long days of running around outside, exploring, and following where your heart and intuition led?
As children, we spend countless hours immersed in the joy of play – purposeless, all-consuming and restorative, and most importantly, fun.
As we become adults, taking the time to play feels like only a guilty pleasure – a distraction from the realities of work and life. Leading experts on play behavior, believe that play is anything but trivial. It is a basic biological drive, opening us up to possibility and new insight and thought. Play strengthens our relationships and fuels our creativity.
In other words, we are designed by nature to flourish through play. It promotes brain development and social integration, leaving us more grounded, mindful and inspired.
Play, however you define it for yourself, many believe is the single most significant factor in determining our success and happiness.
Some cool facts, based on the enormous amount of research on the power of Play:
- A study done in Okinawa, Japan by the National Geographic Society revealed that engaging in activities like playing with young children was as important as diet and exercise in fostering Okinawan’s legendary longevity.
- John Byers study of antelopes and other animals revealed that the periods of greatest play were also the time of the most rapid growth of the area of the brain known as the cerebellum
- Studies have shown that couples who engage in playful, out-of-the ordinary activities, have a higher rate of satisfaction than those who don’t.
All of these facts show us that play is indeed beneficial for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being, but we should also look at the most important reason to integrate play into our lives: it feels GREAT!
When we tap back into that childlike fascination and wonderment of immersing in an activity or game just for the sheer joy of it, we get into a flow state that can help us produce some of our very best work and become the very best version of ourselves.
In a world where hard work is valued and down time is seriously neglected, I challenge you to rebel and to consciously carve out the time for play in your life this week.
What will you do to allow your inner child to come out and play?
How will this bring a new, refreshed energy to your work, life, and relationships?
We look forward to hearing about it in the comments below!