The Importance of Play in Our Lives
Spring is a season that reconnects me with my inner child. I see the world with new eyes; with child-like wonder. I get “spring fever” and find it hard to focus on work. This is partly because I live in a climate that has long, cold winters; and bursting of buds, appearance of robins and the sun’s warmth beckons me to play.
Many of us were raised to believe that childhood is the time for play and as adults work “should” be our focus. There is an increasing body of evidence supporting the importance of play and laughter throughout our lives.
When we laugh, we release endorphins and also encourage energy to move throughout our body. In the words of Candace Pert, a neuroscientist and pharmacologist who spent much of her scientific life studying the mind-body link:
“Play and Laughter are vital to feeling good. Recreation isn’t merely a frivolous addition to life or a hard-earned reward for work… I believe that in a society driven by a strong work ethic, with so many individuals burdened with workaholism, people aren’t getting enough endorphinergic surges through their bodymind on a regular basis … For you to not be laughing and playing during some part of every day is unnatural and goes against your fundamental biochemistry” (excerpt from book by Pert – Everything You Need to Feel Go(o)d), 2006)
Stuart Brown, Founder of the National Institute for Play – http://www.nifplay.org in this You-tube video: http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital.html outlines different types of play and provides evidence of the importance of play throughout our lives. His research shows that play is not only energizing and fun; it is important for human physical, emotional and cognitive development and intelligence.
Based on research by Brown, Pert and others, it is recommended for the health of our minds and our bodies that we engage in play and laughter every day of our life.
Play includes jumping, skipping, tickling or being tickled, being curious, creating and sharing a fantasy story with a child … .
How about you? Does spring connect you with your inner child? What types of play do you engage in? What strategies do you use to connect you with your inner child? What do you notice when you engage in such activities?
I welcome your comments and insights below.