Eat. Play. Love.

Power of Play

  • August 3rd, 2011

I can’t believe it’s August. As a kid, I remember that I would start to get sad this time of year because September was around the corner which meant that the end of my summer vacation was also near. I just wanted to continue to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! Do you remember structuring your entire day around play? I thought about play constantly and worked as efficiently as possible on chores and homework so that I could get my keister outside for some non-stop fun. Nothing was more important…well, except maybe dinner but it was even hard to drag me inside for that. What were some of my favorite forms of play? Well I enjoyed running around and screaming like a crazy person for starters. I enjoyed games with my brother, Shawn, and our friends such as red light, green light, TV tag, kick the can, A-Team, etc. Of course we loved tromping through the woods and creek nearby, swimming in our neighbors pool, playing on the swing set, developing dance routines (sorry to put you out there like that Shawn, but you have to admit our Puttin’ on the Ritz routine was pretty fly), playing catch, training our poor dog to climb trees and jump through hoops, riding our bikes, skate boarding, playing in the dirt…the list goes on and on. It’s funny how as I’ve gotten older, my play list has gotten much shorter. Well, recently, I’ve decided that I need to expand my play list again and I hope that you’ll join me.

First, what is considered play? Sometimes we consider play exercise or working on some fun creative project. Now this can be play, of course, but let’s think back to our childhoods. Play is something that we do for pure enjoyment that integrates our mind, body and spirit and creates excitement. Professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, Sutton-Smith considers play an alternative cultural form, like art and music. He says play is anxiety—complete with uncertainty—but without the adrenaline and endocrine response. So it’s a healthy form of stimulation unlike stress. We know how detrimental stress can be both to our physical and mental health. Stress can create illness and depression. We’ve all experienced that. So what’s a great remedy? PLAY! I encourage you to think about one form of play that you can integrate into your life this week. It has to be fun and serve no other purpose than to make you smile, laugh and love life. Try it. You may notice a shift in your mental outlook or increased energy. You may notice that you enjoy your responsibilities much more when you make time for play and are much more efficient with your time. Most of all, the people in your life will enjoy your presence that much more because play is contagious.

Just remember, play holds the power of possibility.

 
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