Play is an integral part of life, not only during childhood but also into adulthood and later in life. However, the ironic twist in life is that the older one gets, the more serious one becomes. When life is all work and no play, we become old and gray quicker.
Although some people may appear more playful than others, researchers have found that we are all wired to play and has several benefits. Here are some of the roles play plays:
𝐁𝐎𝐋𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐑𝐀𝐈𝐍:
In his TED Talk, “𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙮 𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙪𝙣,” Psychiatrist Dr. Stuart Brown states, “𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨 𝙪𝙥 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙣 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙮.” New tasks are understood better when engaged in a fun, relaxed, and playful environment. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt, solve problems, and reduce memory loss.
𝐁𝐑𝐈𝐃𝐆𝐄 𝐓𝐎 𝐁𝐎𝐍𝐃𝐈𝐍𝐆:
Sharing laughter often helps loosen up stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships. It also can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
Having fun can trigger the release of the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins. A good laugh also relieves tension in our muscles and lowers blood pressure, helping to protect us against cardiovascular and other health problems.
Playful adults can transform everyday situations, even stressful ones, into something entertaining. “𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙤𝙣,” Dr. Brown says, “𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙩 𝙤𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙖 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙖𝙜𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙚, 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙮𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙙𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙩 𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚.”
Yes, play can make one feel silly. But that’s precisely the point! Having said that, we don’t need to play every second of the day to enjoy play’s benefits. In his book, 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙮, Dr. Brown calls play a catalyst. He writes that a little bit of fun can go a long way toward boosting our productivity and happiness.
Any time you think play is a waste of time, remember that it offers some profound benefits for both you and others. As Dr. Brown wrote in his book, “𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙮 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚.”
When was the last time you played and laughed out loud?
“𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘺 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘴 𝘶𝘴 𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦. 𝘐𝘵 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘩𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘢𝘴𝘮 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦. 𝘞𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵, 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥.” -Lucia Capocchione, an Italian-American psychologist
18 𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘰, 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥. 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘢𝘵, 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘬, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘯 𝘥𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦.
19 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺 𝘪𝘵. 𝘛𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘭𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦—𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘨𝘪𝘧𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘎𝘰𝘥.
20 𝘎𝘰𝘥 𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘺 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘯𝘰 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘵.
Fred Tokè aka Dr. Tokèmon