In a world that often glorifies productivity, the concept of play tends to take a backseat once we reach adulthood. However, embracing playfulness and incorporating it into our daily lives can have profound benefits on our well-being, creativity, and overall quality of life. In fact, cultivating play is one of Brene Brown’s key points to living a wholehearted life. She even suggests that play is as important to our health as rest. Just as it’s important for children to play, adults too need to indulge in the magic of playtime. Let’s explore why play is not just for kids and how incorporating it into our lives can lead to a happier and more fulfilling existence.
- Reduces Stress and Boosts Mental Health
Life can get hectic, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Play provides an excellent avenue for adults to release stress and experience the joy of the present moment. Engaging in playful activities triggers the release of endorphins, our brain’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. Whether it’s a group exercise class, an impromptu dance party, or even engaging in creative arts and crafts, play helps reduce cortisol levels, effectively decreasing stress and anxiety.
- Sparks Creativity and Innovation
Play encourages us to think outside the box, explore new perspectives, and solve problems creatively. When we engage in activities solely for the sake of enjoyment, we’re more likely to let go of rigid thinking patterns and allow our imagination to flow. This free-flowing creativity often spills over into other aspects of our lives, leading to innovative solutions and novel ideas in our work and personal endeavors.
- Strengthens Social Bonds
Play is a natural way to connect with others and form strong social bonds. Engaging in playful activities fosters a sense of camaraderie and shared experience, helping us forge deeper relationships with friends, family, and even strangers. Group games, fitness classes, and collaborative projects provide opportunities for interaction, enhancing communication skills and creating lasting memories. This is why CONNECTION is one of SHiNE’s 5 promises.
- Enhances Cognitive Function
Play engages various parts of the brain, stimulating cognitive function and improving mental agility. Puzzle games, trivia challenges, and strategy games are excellent examples of playful activities that keep our minds sharp. Similarly, performing dance choreography has been shown to have major benefits for not just our bodies, but our mental health as well. By regularly engaging in playful mental exercises, we can boost memory, improve problem-solving skills, and potentially reduce the risk of cognitive decline as we age.
- Increases Productivity and Motivation
Contrary to conventional wisdom, incorporating play into our routines can actually improve productivity and motivation. Short bursts of play, like taking a break to dance out a quick routine or engage in a fun activity, can recharge our energy and improve focus. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity when we return to our tasks with renewed enthusiasm and mental clarity. Just one more reason why self-care is definitely NOT selfish, and prioritizing your workout is so important to your overall well being.
- Fosters Lifelong Learning
Play encourages a sense of curiosity and a willingness to learn. Whether it’s picking up a musical instrument, trying out a new dance move, or delving into a creative hobby, engaging in play allows us to explore our interests without the pressure of achieving a specific outcome. This fosters a love of learning and personal growth that lasts well into adulthood.
- Cultivates Resilience
Play often involves taking risks, trying new things, and occasionally failing. (Cue the “reality fitness” moments sometimes witnessed in SHiNE classes!) These experiences contribute to building resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks and challenges. Through play, we learn that failures are simply part of the process, and we become more adept at finding joy despite obstacles.
Incorporating play into our lives as adults doesn’t mean neglecting responsibilities or ignoring important tasks. Instead, it’s about striking a balance between work and play, recognizing that both are essential for a well-rounded and fulfilling life. Whether it’s dedicating time to outdoor adventures, engaging in creative pursuits, or simply allowing ourselves to be carefree on the dance floor, the benefits of play are far-reaching.
So, let’s challenge the societal norms that insist play is only for the young. Let’s rediscover the power of play, embrace the joy it brings, and allow it to enrich our lives in ways we might have forgotten. If you’re looking for an opportunity to play, join us on the dance floor, or take the leap and attend the next SHiNEcation! It’s time to infuse our adult lives with the wonder, excitement, and sheer delight that comes from allowing ourselves to play freely and without inhibition.