As the teenage years passes and one faces the reality of life and responsibilities increase; we tend to forget an integral part of our childhood that helped our growth and development, that forgotten part of our live is play.
Adulthood is filled with responsibilities, pills to pay, work, business and family commitment and other commitments that draws our attention and fill our time that we have no time for play and a fun-filled life.
When you are done reading this; you will know the positive impact play has on your health as an adult and it will also help you carve out time and reduce the time spent in front of the TV or computer, so that you can engage in fun and rejuvenating play like you did as a child.
Play is not essential for kids also; it is also essential for adults, it is a source of relaxation and stimulation. Engaging in playful activities regularly fuels the imagination; it increases creativity and problem solving abilities and emotional well-being as well.
Below are some of the important things play can do for you.
It relieves stress: During play; the body triggers the release of endorphins which relieves stress and makes the body feel good. Endorphins are the natural feel-good of the body and their release promotes an overall sense of well-being and it can even relieve pain temporarily. The social interaction between family and friends ward off stress and depression. David Beckham, football legend says he plays with Lego pieces to relieve stress; former British Prime Minister David Cameroun says he is able to relax at the end of a long day by playing the video game angry birds.
It makes the heart healthy: The New York Times reports that physical play makes one more active and this in turn makes the heart healthy; it also burns calories and reduces excess weight which is not good for the heart.
It improves the functions of the brain: There are lots of evidences that playing chess, completing puzzles or engaging in fun activities that challenge the brain improve brain functions and prevent memory problems and diseases related to brain-aging. Studies prove that play and memory games stimulate brain growth even in adulthood; in a study, participants were given coloured cards with random names to memorize the names over a span of three days; after the experiments, the brain of participants were scanned via MRI and the result revealed new growth of grey brain matter. The grey matter of the brain is helps in decision making and thought processing.
It stimulates the mind and boosts creativity: The reason why kids and encouraged and allowed to play is because it boosts their creativity and stimulate their mind, kids learn fast and best when they are playing. These principles also apply to adults as well; they learn new tasks better when it is fun or when they are in a relaxed and playful mode. Play also stimulates the imaginations of adults and helps them adapt to unfavorable conditions better; it also improve their problem solving skills. Taking small breaks from hard work to play can result in greater productivity and improve problem solving skills.
It keeps one young and energetic: George Bernard Shaw made a famous quote; it says “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play boosts mood, energy and vitality; it empowers the immune system and makes one feel their best. It also makes one more productive and makes one better in communication; another study revealed that when someone cracked a joke; it makes others to laugh and break down barriers to communication.
It develops and improves social skills: During childhood play, kids learn about verbal communications; body language, boundaries, co-operation and teamwork. Adults who engage in play continue to refine these skills through play and playful communications. Play also teaches cooperation with others.
Play can heal emotional wounds: Play shapes the brain of children; when adults play together that same pattern of behaviour that positively shapes the brain of children is engaged. It is stated that if an emotionally insecure individual plays with a secure partner; it will replace negative beliefs and behaviours with positive assumptions and actions. It even strengthens relationships when couples play together. Research suggests that couples who play together stay together; the result from one study showed that it leads to greater relationship satisfaction.
Ways to have more fun and play more as an adult
- Make it a point of duty to play more; you can start by setting a goal to have more fun, this goal should be treated with the same seriousness used to treat other goals set for dreams, quitting smoking, losing weight, making a certain amount or starting a business.
- The next step is to decide what fun mean to you; it can be different for different people. Make a list of the things that you enjoy doing as a child and do them or you can pick up and hobbies and learn new sports.
- Put fun in your schedule and set a time apart for it; you can chose to set aside one or more days in a week for your fun and playful activities.
- Combine fun with your other activities. This will give you a positive attitude while handling tasks and also improve your creativity.
- Have play dates with your spouse or significant other; dates nights doesn’t have to be about dinner and movies, you two can engage in sports, go to a park, or just play together.
- Befriend a fun person; the type of people you hang out with have an enormous impact on your life. You will learn lots of things from a fun person and before you know it you will also be a fun person.
- Play with children; little kids know how to play and they are always filled with fun.
- You can keep pets and play with them; they are great source of joy and entertainment; you can even train them to respond to play the way you want. Pets are great at relieving stress.