Why Make Time for Play?
Recently in The Curious Club, we focused upon play and the importance of it as adults.
We often think play is only for children and yet engaging in playful activities as an adult has numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits that contribute to overall well-being and a balanced life.
Play can help your wellbeing in the following ways:
- Stress Relief: Playful activities can act as a stress reliever, helping adults to unwind, relax, and temporarily escape from their daily responsibilities. Play triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can reduce stress and promote a sense of happiness.
- Improved Creativity: Play encourages adults to use their imagination, explore new ideas, and think creatively. Engaging in playful activities stimulates the brain and fosters innovative thinking, which can be valuable in problem-solving and everyday tasks.
- Enhanced Social Connections: Play often involves interacting with others, which can strengthen social bonds and improve communication skills. Engaging in playful activities with friends, family, or colleagues can create shared experiences and deepen relationships.
- Boosted Cognitive Function: Play stimulates the brain and promotes cognitive flexibility. It can enhance memory, attention span, and cognitive abilities, making it easier for adults to process information and learn new skills.
- Increased Productivity: Taking breaks for playful activities can actually enhance productivity. Adults who incorporate play into their routines may find that they are more focused and efficient when returning to work or other tasks.
- Physical Health Benefits: Many playful activities involve physical movement, which can lead to improved physical health. Whether it’s playing a sport, dancing, or engaging in outdoor activities, play can contribute to increased fitness levels and better overall health.
- Emotional Resilience: Play provides a safe space to explore and express emotions. Through play, adults can better understand and manage their emotions, leading to increased emotional resilience and coping skills.
- Positive Outlook: Playfulness often goes hand-in-hand with humour and laughter, which have been linked to improved mood and a more positive outlook on life. Adults who engage in play regularly may experience increased optimism and a greater sense of well-being.
- Mindfulness and Presence: Playful activities encourage adults to be present in the moment, fostering mindfulness and a break from rumination or overthinking.
- Lifelong Learning: Play can be a fun and engaging way for adults to continue learning and exploring new interests. It keeps the mind active and curious, promoting ongoing personal growth.
We can often have a limited viewpoint of what play is and in doing so limit the ways in which we play. Yet, according to Stuart Brown, a renowned psychiatrist and founder of the National Institute for Play, we have different play personalities which influence the way we play. If we take a moment to explore these play personalities you may be able to find new ways to incorporate play into your day to day life. These personalities are:
- The Joker: The Joker play personality is characterised by humour, wit, and a love for playfulness through jokes, puns, and comedic activities. Jokers often use humour as a way to connect with others and lighten the mood in various situations.
- The Kinesthete: Kinesthetes thrive on physical play and enjoy activities that involve movement and bodily sensations. They find joy in physical challenges, sports, dancing, and any play that engages their sense of touch and movement.
- The Explorer: Explorers have a strong desire for adventure and discovery. They enjoy exploring new places, trying new experiences, and engaging in activities that provide novelty and excitement.
- The Competitor: Competitors love to engage in games, competitions, and challenges. They thrive on the thrill of winning and strive to improve their skills and abilities to excel in their chosen games or activities.
- The Director: Directors enjoy organising and leading others in playful activities. They take pleasure in planning and coordinating events, guiding group play, and orchestrating games and scenarios.
- The Collector: Collectors find joy in gathering and accumulating objects, experiences, or knowledge. They often have diverse interests and hobbies and enjoy immersing themselves in their collections.
- The Artist/Creator: Artists and creators express their playfulness through various forms of creativity. They enjoy painting, drawing, writing, crafting, and engaging in any activity that allows them to express themselves artistically.
- The Storyteller: Storytellers love to immerse themselves in imaginative and fictional worlds. They enjoy reading books, watching movies, and engaging in role-playing or storytelling activities that transport them to different realities.
Which play personality do you think you are?
How will incorporating your play together with your play personality help you to lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life?
What activities are you going to do to ensure you take time to engage your playful side?
Play is not just a luxury; it’s an essential aspect of self-care and overall wellbeing.