‘I love to play!” Let me hear you say it. Yes, out loud. I love to play! Isn’t magically just even talking about playing brings a smile to your face, a lightness to the heart. Engaging in playtime, where you allow yourself the liberty to just do whatever you like to explore your curiosity and imagination is Priceless. Priceless!
Did you know engaging in play can help to reduce stress, increase brain and heart health, while also boosting creativity? Having time to play is valuable because it helps to keeps everything else in balance. Play allows us to integrate our emotions while exploring possibilities. We tend to be more relaxed and open to creative ideas after we’ve had time to play.
Sometimes making time to play is really more about cultivating a playful mindset. Then opportunities to have fun become relevant and meaningful ways to enjoy all aspects of our lives. It cultivates an attitude that enjoys being alive, an active joy that can be shared with others. This attitude of play has a wonderfully therapeutic effect when shared with others as it lifts the spirits with gentleness and ease.
So, let’s get started. Below is a short list to help get you engaging in an adequate dose of play every day. Independent play is as valuable as social or group play. Remembering, that an invitation to play is often all it takes to open up to fun.
1. Games, games, and more games! 🎲🎮 There are many types of games that we can chose – traditional games: cards, board games, or even party games. We can play games virtually with people we know well or online with a community of players. Sometimes exploring something new or discovering something you used to like can re-ignite the inner child’s delight. Mix it up! Play a new game, or even better make-up a new one!
2. Puzzles 🧩 Having a puzzle that takes your mind away for a few minutes can be a tremendous gift. Puzzles help trigger a natural problem solving abilities that can then be used to shift other challenges without directly brainstorming a solution. Our family like to have a puzzle table where each member works on it at leisure. It helps to expand the energy of family bonding through a shared goal that is both challenging and rewarding.
3. Playing pretend 🦸🏽♂️ 🎭 As children we spend a tremendous amount of time pretending in order to try on the world by learning what it’s like to pretend to be. This is no less satisfying as any actor knows. The freedom to play a role can help to express that which normally we would be too reserved to express. Acting as a lion a roaring is not only a fun thing to pretend, it’s a yogic technique too. Try it, open your mind and transform into the lion…..R-O-A-R!
A useful hint, pretend play is substantially aided by props (horns, whiskers, hats, scarves, headdress, jewelry, clothes or anything that helps create the character, mood, idea or statement). And it’s been said, playing dress up never gets old. Play fashion is wonderful form of an individual's statement of exploration.
4. Curiosity 🔎 is a key ingredient to successful play. Through the power of curiosity, we can discover, grow and strengthen ourselves. Explore your curiosity. Explore new types of knowledge, music, books, natural phenomenon, or subjects that you wish to know more about. Keeping an interest in our world helps to build stability and sense of purpose. Interestingly, when we follow that impulse to explore it often leads to new opportunities and solutions previously unrecognized. Ask a few good questions today. Let the opening of curiosity be the harbinger of good fortune and playful ease.
5. Music 🎧 like the sound of laughter can lead us onto pathways that open playful exploration within our mindscape. We can play instruments, or listen to music playing with the sound and our body’s response to it. We can feel moved to play with sound as a way to release tension or shift emotions. Making the ‘Aahhh” sound activates the heart chakra and releases tension held there. Simply breath in and with the exhale say “Aaahhhh” feeling a sense of gratitude in letting go. It’s a simple exercise that Wayne Dyer discovered in India and taught. Sound has been found to generate healing properties through specific frequencies. Play with sound can have similar effects of creating balance and integration of emotions.
Playing is more than a child’s occupation. It is a relevant practice that can help to strengthen a resilient state of mental health. Play therapy is useful to help create secure attachments and strong family bonds. It can help to mend feelings or even work through feelings when communication is at a standstill. When we play together we enter the field of flowing together. Within that field of play wounds can be released among comrades once again.
Stress management used to be treated as a proactive step to prevent burn-out that accompanied serious health risks. In the world we face today, stress management is a daily health practice to maintain wellness. There are many ways to manage stress. And it probably good to have a whole repertoire to keep stimulated and nurtured. Taking advantage of those opportunity to be more jovial within our hearts and minds will do more than shift our perspective. Playfulness can insulate against perceived challenges imbuing us with a sense of hope, creativity and a positive attitude.
Playfulness is a lot like humor. It lifts the spirt and gives joy to the heart. We live to feel each others embrace and to sing out our song. When we give ourselves the gift of playing within our lives it’s like granting the angels permission to join us. Let today open up with a little levity, a measure of curiosity and perhaps, a touch of silly. Go play! It’s good for you. 🏃♀️🤸🏾🤽🏽