How to Add More Play to Your Grown-Up Life, Even Now

How to Add More Play to Your Grown-Up Life, Even Now

via the NY Times by Kristin Wong

“Let’s play!” my friend’s 4-year-old squealed, tugging on my arm. I was tired, so I told her, “I’m too lazy to play.” But I wasn’t allowed to be lazy because I’m big, she said. Unable to come up with a convincing rebuttal, I found a place to hide while she counted to 20. Fred Rogers said that play is “the work of childhood.” Kids take this work seriously, they’re good at it, and they can teach us a thing or two about why play is important — especially now.

But what, exactly, is play? Generally speaking, play is something that’s imaginative, self-directed, intrinsically motivated and guided by rules that leave room for creativity.

“One way to think about play is an action you do that brings you a significant amount of joy without offering a specific result,” said Jeff Harry, a positive play coach who works with businesses, schools and organizations to use applied positive psychology in day-to-day routines. That means taking a bike ride because it’s fun, not because you’re trying to lose five pounds. “A lot of us do everything hoping for a result,” Mr. Harry added. “It’s always, ‘What am I getting out of this?’ Play has no result.”

At a time when jobs are precarious, livelihoods are at stake and we’re still fighting a deadly pandemic, play is low on our list of priorities. We’re living in a world that’s more conducive to anxiety than playfulness. In the never-ending to-do list of adulthood, play can feel like a waste of time. We exhaust ourselves with tasks we should or have to do, but we rarely have time or energy for activities we want to do.

Play offers a reprieve from the chaos, and it challenges us to connect with a key part of ourselves that gets lost in the responsibilities of adulthood, especially during a crisis.

“As we get older, our egos grow. We become more self-conscious,” said Meredith Sinclair, a former schoolteacher and author of “Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit.” Play feels silly, unproductive and time-consuming. “But this is precisely why we should make more time for it,” Ms. Sinclair said.

There are a number of benefits to play for adults, including improved stress management and an improvement in our overall well-being — benefits we could certainly use right now.

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #happy #play #fun