When we think of play we think of kids, because we believe that kids should have time to play. But we forget that kids aren’t the only ones who need to play—we tend to think that as adults, we should forget our childish ways and be serious and not play.
Wow, what a boring way to live. And also, what a stressful way to live. No play = living a High Density Lifestyle. No play, no stress relief. No play, no joy. And no play, no health and wellness, for that matter either.
Play is necessary, no matter your age. Play is so important, in fact, that Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) once described it as the defining characteristic of our species. For Huizinga, humanity is notable not as Homo sapiens, “wise people,” but Homo ludens, “playful people.”
So, what is play good for?
Absolutely everything, as it turns out.
Play is good for healthy living. Play helps manage stress, easing us into relaxation mode. Play releases a whole range of beneficial brain chemicals, which not only make play fun but relieves tension and allows for stress relief.
Play opens up your mind and allows you to think different. Play stimulates the brain in nonlinear ways, causing your creative intelligence to be heightened. This changes the way you see things and allows you to think different. In this mindset, nothing is just what it seems – things take on new forms, problems seem not just solvable but trivial, and we feel empowered to take on the world.
Play unites the mind and body. In play, the gap between physical sensation and mental sensation is bridged, as both your mind and body enter into heightened states of awareness. As the mind is stimulated from play, so is the body, and as the body is stimulated from play, so is the mind. It becomes a two-way street, and play helps to make you more in touch with yourself.
Play creates social bonds. When you play with others, a bond arises from it. You don’t think about what your differences are and let that get between you – instead you form a camaraderie due to your commonalities. Play unites us as humans – everyone likes to play, and so we bond over it.
Children bond with other children quickly, and the bond is based on playing. “Can you come out and play?” is the common refrain one child will ask another.
So when’s the last time you played? I mean, really, really played. You know, having fun, letting loose, blowing off steam type of play. Not play in which you work out your tensions and aggressions at the expense of someone else, but good, old-fashioned play that’s fun and is a meaningful manner of stress relief.
When you find that kind of play, that’s when you really feel like you’re living a Low Density Lifestyle and you’re on the path of health and wellness.
If you’re not sure where to start, try this: Stand in front of a mirror, and make really ridiculous faces. Turn your eyelids out, stick your tongue out, snort, chuckle, and make weird noises. Truly embarrass yourself. That’s right, really make a fool of yourself.
We all need to lighten up. Being serious, heavy and dense all or most of the time isn’t good. When you’re like that, you’re caught up in the High Density Lifestyle mode and taking life way too seriously. Chances are when you’re like that, you’re also getting stressed out way too easy.
So, now you know how to manage stress and find stress relief and start on the path to healthy living: Go out and play!
And actually, by making time to play, you become better at dealing with all the serious stuff in your life. You’ll feel better, be more relaxed, have better health and wellness, and enjoy more creativity – and all this will help make the rest of your life better.
And you know why? Cause then you’ll be living a Low Density Lifestyle.
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