Ready to Embrace More Play and Joy in Your Life?

I just watched a YouTube of a woman, a mother of two children, sitting in her car in a shopping mall parking lot. She must have had her phone propped up on the dashboard as she shot the video. She had just been to Kohl’s department store to buy herself a birthday present. As she unpacked it to show viewers, she insisted it was for her and her alone. Yes, she would let her children use it, but at the end of the day it would return to her room.

When she finally managed to free it from the packaging and put it on, I was looking at a woman wearing a Wookie mask. You know the big hairy character from Star Wars, first mate and companion to Hans Solo. As she moved her mouth up and down the mask made that soft rumbling roar familiar to anyone who has watched the movies. On top of that she couldn’t stop laughing, a wild uncontrollable laughter, the kind that is contagious. As I watched I started laughing too. Then she had me thinking.

When was the last time you did something so playful? When did you last allow yourself to get really goofy? When did you last laugh with total abandon? As we “grow up” we think we have to be serious. Yet it’s been shown that play expands our capacities to learn, do new things and come up with creative solutions.

Play has more to do with attitude than a particular activity. Pure play is more the domain of children. As adults, we tend to blend play with our responsibilities, and refer to it as bringing a playful spirit to what we are doing. As I am writing this article, I am playing with the flow of ideas and the sense of what to do with them so it feels fun. Play is an important part of being creative. It puts you in an imaginative, active, and alert, but relaxed, frame of mind that opens you to new possibilities.

So what could you do today to bring more play into your life? It can be a quiet sense of satisfaction as well as wild with laughter. You could go to a toy store, buy one of those small bottles of bubbles with the wand inside or a pack of crayons or anything that calls to your playful spirit. They now make adult coloring books designed for play and stress relief. You could go to a playground. Try the swing set or better yet the slide. You could take off your shoes and dance across the grass in your backyard or neighborhood park.

Play is very much self directed and personal. Find what makes your playful spirit come alive. Play is also at the heart of creativity and good for your heart, soul and health. It increases your sense of joy. It’s easy to be swept away in the role of responsible adult but really aren’t you ready to break loose and have more fun.

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