“The opposite of play is not work, but is depression.”
Oh my goodness, what a quote!! To me that is reason enough to make time and effort to play and have fun everyday!! Here are some of the many proven benefits!!
In his book, Play: How it Shapes your Brain, Stuart Brown lays out facts on how play is not an optional activity for our life, but an essential element. If we want to have a life of vitality, creativity and learning skills, emotional stamina, and satisfying relationships we must learn to incorporate play every day.
1) Vitality and Personal Health– Play keeps you younger and healthier. It reduces stress hormones in your blood streams. If we have high stress levels it lowers our immune system and ages out body faster. Play can trigger a lovely mix of endorphins helping us cope with the pressures and stress of everyday life. Our spirits are lifted and life is no longer rigid and unmanageable.
2) Sharpens our skills- There are so many ways to learn and play can foster our creativity, opening a doorway to learning. When our imaginations are stimulated we can go further and retain more. We can learn about taking risks and how to adapt to complex issues. Doing something you enjoy helps your brain relax and get into the flow. This relaxed feeling stays with you when you return to more serious activities and helps your mind stay clear.
3) Relationships-Playing with others gives you a sense of belonging and strengthens community. You strengthen your social skills as well as compassion and empathy. You learn to trust each other and feel safe.