Something magical happens when we play and I am reminded daily, by my four year daughter, of this magic. In that moment of playing all things are possible. We are not bounded by the limits of physics and reason, grounded by past burdens and future expectations, we are free to be focused on the present moment and enjoy the connection with ourselves, our playmates, and our environment. To witness this magic in action I recommend hanging out with and/or watching kiddos play. Sticks become wands and important tools, rocks become treasure, dolls and action figures come to life, people become animals, superheroes, and monsters, chairs become spaceships, everything can be anything and in minutes everything returns to what it once was. I think that’s pretty darn magical.
No doubt most folks have heard about or read an article or two about how important play is for kids with respect to learning and brain development and generally acknowledge that playing is a pretty necessary component of a kid’s life. For myriad reasons the significance of play seems to get dismissed as we get older and take on the business of being serious adults. However, the need for play IS an important component of well being in adulthood. Over the past few years, more attention and research has been given to the benefits of play throughout the lifespan, which include social connection and well-being, increased mental acuity and flexibility, and an increased sense of joy. Dr. Stuart Brown, the head of the National Institute for Play, notes: Play is something done for its own sake. 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.
Keeping this in mind, play can take all sorts of forms, from enjoying and engaging in the arts to playing sports or board games, or going for a hike or joking around with friends and family. Incorporating play and a playful spirit into your everyday life can reduce stress, broaden your perspectives, and just be plain old fun! Oh yeah, and it can make everyday life more magical!
On October 6th at 7pm, please join me to learn how to add some spontaneity to your routine. Play is 1 of 2 remaining topics in HWCA’s signature holistic wellness program, Get Happy! Sessions are now available for only $30 each! Click here to register now!