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E-Quipped to... Be Playful!
This newsletter refers to 'Prepped for Play', a comprehensive article found on my website.
The serious business of making and breaking our New Year’s resolutions is over as by now we are well into 2016. Most of you would perhaps have already been back at work for a while, unless like me you have had the luxury of playing for the past 50 days!
Image by: Umbria Lovers
Yes, that’s right; yesterday I started back at work after 50 continuous days of play time! The reason for 50 days of leave? To celebrate the fact that I turned 50 this month! I decided that the very best gift I could give myself was the gift of free time to do just what I wanted to do. I have been to the beach, bush and the berg. I have read my way through some of the top 50 best-selling books of all time and watched Oscar nominated videos going right back to the ‘50s. I have played board games with friends and worked on a jigsaw puzzle that I had not got around to finishing years ago. In short, I have played, played, played!
In our hectic, modern lifestyles, most of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for play. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stopped playing. Even when we do make time for leisure, we're more likely to sit in front of the TV or computer than engage in fun, rejuvenating play like we did as children. But the reality is that we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously just because we’re adults. By giving ourselves permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, we will reap a variety of health benefits throughout life.
Playfulness is a Sign of Emotional Health
Playfulness comes with the health of the nervous system. The healthier we become emotionally, the easier it is to play, because the healthier we become the more we are present - and play is about being present. It's that quality of being ‘in the moment’ that makes play possible - you can't play at any time but right now!
What are the Benefits of Adult Play?
We know that play is crucial for a child’s development and most people would never question that fact, but few people realise that it is also beneficial for adults and can improve health, relationships and work productivity.
Play and Your Health
Spending a fortune on medical bills? Make time to play more and you will save yourself a packet, because play can:
Relieve stress - Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Decrease depression - The social interaction of playing with family and friends can help ward off stress and depression.
Improve brain function - Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other brain-challenging fun activities can improve brain function and help prevent memory problems.
Keep you feeling young and energetic - Play can boost energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you feel your best. In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
For other ways that play can improve your health read my article: Prepped for Play
Play and Your Relationships
By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humour and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your love relationships, as well as your connections with co-workers, family members and friends in the following ways:
Play can help heal emotional wounds - As adults, when we play together, we engage in exactly the same patterns of behavior that positively shape the brains of children. These same playful behaviours that predict emotional health in children can also lead to positive changes in adults. If an emotionally-insecure person plays with a secure partner, for example, it can help replace negative beliefs and behaviours with positive ones.
Play helps improve relationships and connection to others - Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to be a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.
Play can help develop relationships - In new relationships, play and humour can be an effective tool not just for attracting the other person but also for overcoming any awkwardness or embarrassment that arises during the dating and getting-to-know-you process. In longer-term relationships, play can keep things exciting, fresh and vibrant, and deepen intimacy. It can also help you overcome differences and the tiny aggravations that can build up over time.
For more on how play can improve your relationships read my article: Prepped for Play
Play and Your Work
Success at work doesn't depend on the amount of time you work; it depends upon the quality of your work. And the quality of your work is highly dependent on your well-being.
Playing at work increases productivity because it:
For more on how play improves productivity read my article: Prepped for Play
How do we Create Opportunities to Play?
You can play on your own or with a pet, but for the most benefit, play should involve at least one other person, away from the sensory-overload of electronic gadgets.
Try to clear your schedule for an afternoon or evening, for example, and then turn off your phone, TV, computer, and other devices. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want for the time you’ve allotted. Be spontaneous, set aside your inhibitions and try something fun, something you haven’t done since you were a kid, perhaps. And enjoy the change of pace.
For 12 suggestions of what you can do to play, read my article: Prepped for Play
My 50 days of play has been absolutely fabulous. I will be sharing my experiences with you over the coming weeks.
What do YOU Think?
Share your wisdom with others… How do you bring play into your life?
Leave your comments here
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About These Newsletters
You may have been forwarded this email by a friend. In that case, allow me to introduce myself. I am a psychologist, speaker, trainer, coach and hat lover based in Durban, South Africa.
My goal is to inspire you to make the changes necessary to live the life of your dreams! I believe that by developing your YOU-Q - the term I have created to describe your unique intelligence, creativity and wisdom - you can find your Inner winner and live a Be-YOU-tiful life right now.
On my website you'll find more ideas to get you thinking about life, love, work and other important STUFF.
Contact me for more information or visit the website:
+27 82 491 1136
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