Just Play. Have fun.
Recently I listened to an interview with George Vaillant, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of several books. He was asked what is the most important thing when it comes to aging. His answer was, “Play, play, play.” So Philosophers, psychiatrists, artists, writers, et al from Plato and Aristotle through the present have extolled the benefits of play. Play has been likened to oxygen. It is all around us but we don’t notice it until it is gone. Following are many benefits of play and why it is essential to people of all ages.
Play supports physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development.
Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Improve brain function. Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—and that principle applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and problem solve.
Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others.
Play doesn’t have to be a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships. Keep you feeling young and energetic.
Finally, some great quotes about play:
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct. Carl Jung
Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities. Stuart Brown, MD
Almost all creativity involves purposeful play. Abraham Maslow
Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play. Henry Matisse
Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor. Stuart Brown
If you want to be creative, stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society. Jean Piaget
Comments are welcomed.