How you can use play to get through life with more joy and happiness!

How you can use play to get through life with more joy and happiness!

via the Washington Post by Neda Semnani

We all know the feeling: Our keys are lost, the baby won’t stop screaming, our computer’s frozen, and suddenly it feels like our whole life is careening toward disaster. The frustration in those moments can be all-consuming.

But what if we reframe these mundane crises as opportunities for us to live more playful and engaged lives?  

In his new book, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games, philosopher and video game designer Ian Bogost explains how we can apply principles of play to life’s most infuriating moments, so they become tolerable, and perhaps improbably, even fun. In the latest in our blog series, Inspiring Reads, we talked to Bogost about remembering how to play.

Q: When we think about play, we normally think of it as doing some sort of freewheeling, unstructured activity, but you argue that this isn’t play at all, so what is play?

Bogost: Play is, generally speaking, the operation of structures constrained by limitations. In other words, it is how we describe free movement within a system. So, for example, when we maneuver a soccer ball without using our hands or manipulate the falling boxes in Tetris, we are at play, and it’s the game’s rules that transform senseless repetitive motion into play.

There are parallels to draw here between games and our everyday lives. For most of us, life is characterized by the rules and limitations that come with parenting or marriage or work. We are faced with constraints on our time and on our money. Our greatest frustrations occur as we try to navigate these everyday obligations and obstacles. Usually, we feel these mundane tasks are the stuff we have to do before we get to do the stuff we want to do. The tragedy here is that the stuff we have to do takes up most of our time. If we can’t find pleasure or gratification in these moments, if we are just waiting for our obligations to be over and done with so we can move on to pursuing more desirable activities, then we’re well and truly screwed. Life will feel intolerable.

But, on the other hand, if we treat everything — every object, person, or situation — with the same respect and deliberateness we afford games and hobbies, then we will find delight and gratification throughout our lives day-to-day. Play is the tool that can help us find the novelty and wonder in what we think of as tedious…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE