Why We Need to PLAY

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

When it comes to health and wellness, we see the same topics discussed ad nauseum: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress (finally lol). But how often do we discuss the health benefits of PLAYING?

Once we grow up, play can be perceived as unproductive, useless or even accompany feelings of guilt. Plus we tend to be short on time with all of our responsibilities.

Dr. Stuart Brown, head of a nonprofit called National Institute for Play, wrote the book "Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.” Dr. Brown's (and many others) research is showing lack of play to relate directly to factors like poor coping skills, anxiety, health and even as a predictor of criminal behavior - among other equal factors.

"Play is something done for its own sake," Brown says. "It's voluntary, it's pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome."

The (Serious) Benefits

  • Increases energy leading to a more active life
  • Lowers & helps cope with stress
  • Boosts creativity
  • ????Increased vitality
  • ????Heals emotional wounds
  • Fosters resilience
  • Improves brain function
  • Improves your relationships & connections with others
  • Increases life satisfaction

Too often, I see people nailing their macros, training 5-6 days per week & ticking off the "must-do's" checklist - but who are stuck & frustrated. They scratch their heads when I ask what they do for fun or when they last played. Inevitably, when they start prioritizing this simple piece, their progress rebounds.

Play Ideas

  • Jigsaw puzzles or Legos
  • Art
  • Reading (especially fiction)
  • Listening to music
  • Comedy
  • Daydreaming
  • ????Games like chess, card games, stratego
  • ????Play with kids or pets
  • Surround yourself with with playful people
  • Recall favorite childhood activities and recreate them

Takeaway: Regularly find time to play and remember that you are physiologically wired to benefit from it - so give yourself permission to enjoy it! 



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