Play is essential for kids growing up to learn skills and socialize. Another important aspect of play is that it helps us learn to cope in different situations and teaches us to laugh about ourselves. How come as we grow older we forget to play? Or maybe we stop playing, thinking that it’s too silly or a waste of our time. Let me tell you right now that this is not true!
It comes more natural to some people and that’s great. Being playful and goofy is not for everybody, you could say. But many studies (you can Google this) have found that people that are playful and love to play are better at coping with stress, anxiety and depression.
Let’s separate the two things that I’ve mentioned above. One of them is to be playful and goofy: this is the ability to laugh at situations that other people might find ridiculous, but when you laugh they become light hearted and funny. If someone takes them seriously instead of laughing then they become a serious situation that needs to be untangled. A simple example would be if you drop accidentally a spoon full of tomato sauce and it splashes your pants and everything around you: you can choose to swear and clean it up getting more and more mad because on top of it the stain in your pants will be hard to get off. Instead, you can choose to start laughing and clean up with a smile, saying, darn! it had to be tomato sauce! and then put your pants in the washer and let it take care of the stains. That split second when you decide how you’ll react to an accidental mess, decides what energy you will bring to the table during dinner. So in this type of situation, being able to laugh and take things as they are makes you more resilient to real messes in your life because you can put in perspective when it’s really serious and when it’s just inconvenient and it’s easy to fix if you keep a lighthearted attitude.
The second play that I was talking about is to actually take time to play. It could be a game on your phone, computer, Xbox, switch, etc; or it could be playing cards with your kids, or sitting after dinner to play a board game with your family. These moments that you take to play, as if you were a kid, are fundamental to put the rest of your life in perspective. You know when your game doesn’t go the way you wanted, it’s ok. When you loose at the cards game with your kids, but you have all been laughing and being having fun for an hour or so, that’s a great feeling. Being able to keep playing as adults serves many purposes: creating a distraction, sharing fun moments with your family, being more resilient when you face a tough level in a game and you will have to redo it several times before moving to the next level, finding entertainment that engages you instead of sitting passively in front of the TV set or your computer.
I guess my post today is about the many ways that we can disconnect from the drama of life, the deadlines at work that stress us, the pandemic, and news all over the world that make us cringe. But with that disconnect also comes perspective and entertainment that recharges you and serves the purpose of refocusing you and connecting with a side of yourself that finds enjoyment in the simple and lighthearted moments of life. So, repeating myself here, drop everything at least one time this week and go play! If you can insert these play time every week, the better!