The Benefits of Taking Time to Play
Does life just seem to be less enjoyable now than when you were a kid? It may be because you are spending all of your time working to get ahead in life, and not on enjoying it. One way to change that is by adding some play in your day. Doing so will benefit you more than you may think.
Play is often viewed as a luxury, and not something that is required for life. No matter the form, however, play is essential. We play for many reasons, including: to learn, to create, to challenge ourselves, to pass the time, to calm down and to focus, and most importantly, to laugh, and enjoy ourselves. Ultimately, the end goal for life is to enjoy it. Getting a good job, building a family, owning a house; these are all things we strive for, but they are not the reason we live. They are all a means to achieve happiness, and play is essential in that goal.
Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, goes into great detail about the science of play in his book “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.” Brown states that while it is often viewed as completely separate from work, play can also provide many benefits for us in the workplace. When we are stumped on a particularly hard problem, or just cannot find the solution to a problem, taking a break to play can allow us to clear our minds, and come at the problem from a new angle. While we are playing, our unconscious is still working on the problem, and by playing, we also help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that the problem has created.
Playing with other people has its own set of benefits as well. It can help us to connect with others, and to develop meaningful relationships. It can help us fight back loneliness, anxiety, feelings of isolation, and depression. Kevin Kearns, president of Kearns Advantage – a leadership coaching company – and author of “49 Ways to Deal With People at Work”, is an advocate of using play to build teamwork among employees. This play allows us to work more fluidly, and ...
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