Why scheduling play can make you happier!

Why scheduling play can make you happier!

by Lissa Cowan from the Huffington Post

Play is something we take for granted and yet rarely have time for.

Even when we're out enjoying ourselves, thoughts of work creep in, or we worry about that laundry list of stuff to do at home. We find it perfectly natural when children play house, run around outside with their friends and master computer games. Yet as adults we can feel guilty doing an activity that isn't productive or doesn't make us money.

In his book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart Brown, play researcher and psychiatrist writes that humans are hardwired to play through millions of years of evolution. What is more, he believes this biological necessity — as vital to us as sleep and dreams — can lead to increased happiness.

"When we play, we are engaged in the purest expression of our humanity, the truest expression of our individuality. Is it any wonder that often the times we feel most alive, those that make up our best memories, are moments of play?"

Scheduling play just as we would schedule a workout or meeting could make us happier, more joyful.

Daily play — be it for one hour or 15 minutes — gives us permission to escape our worries and be present to others and to ourselves. Kicking around a soccer ball, playing an instrument or going to a museum clears the mental clutter that builds up when we're swamped, overbooked, and urgently in need of a spiritual reboot.

There may be other lasting benefits to scheduled play.

Positive waves — before and after — could result from play. Gretchin Rubin, author of The Happiness Project writes that there are four stages for enjoying a happy event: The anticipation of looking forward to it, playtime once you've scheduled it, sharing that pleasure with others — either during the event or when you tell someone about it later — and reflecting on the enjoyment you had. Rubin suggests scheduling regular time for play otherwise we won't do it…

…keep reading more about play, in fact keep reading the full & original article HERE