The Value of Play in Well-Being

Humans are creatures of thought, emotion and physicality. While such practices as mindfulness and meditation enable us to connect with Spirit, our own Soul Wisdom, the “spirit” component is also fed with play. And yet many adults either do not make time for recreation in their lives. Far from being trivial, unimportant or non-productive, play for adults can be as important as it is for children.

Author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, says that play is “purposeless, fun and pleasurable,” an activity which is enjoyed more for the experience than the goal. The enormous popularity with adults of resorts, family camps and other such “vacation destinations” validates the fact that many adults allow recreation as an important part of their lives. It’s worth considering, however, whether the rigidly scheduled vacation, jam packed with activities, is truly recreation. It may be fun overall, but playfulness may not be the focus.

Play at any age encourages creativity and relaxation, to say nothing of improving relationships with those we play with. It releases those “feeling good” hormones, endorphins. When we share fun with others, our trust and intimacy are heightened. Those businesses who have learned to incorporate play into the daily routine of their employees have discovered improved creativity, morale, and satisfaction in the team.

In difficult global and personal times, it is even more important to make time for laughter and play. Tension and negativity are eased or even reversed by recreation. The word can also be viewed as “re-creation,” renewing our energy and well-being.

Whether a golf game is played for the fun of it or for the competition, if you enjoy yourself and feel at ease when on a course, then you are playing. If quiet recreation like needlework or gardening gives you pleasure, that too is play.

Especially during the months of pleasant weather, be sure to incorporate fun activities into your family’s lives, and watch your sense of well-being improve.

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