“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. – George Bernard Shaw
Play is a pillar of childhood and is critical for children’s creativity, happiness and skill development.
Remember the days of sitting in a sandbox for hours, climbing on furniture while avoiding the lava floor or pretending to be a pirate and grabbing any make-believe prop in sight?
The kind of play where you lose track of time and any sense of reality.
So what happened during that stretch of time from childhood to adulthood? Why do adults stop playing?
Lack of time is the number one deterrence. We feel guilty if we allow ourselves to indulge in play, thinking we could be doing something “better” or “more productive” with our time.
But you can weave play into many of your everyday activities.
Play can be any activity that is fun and engaging—it doesn’t have to be a structured game. Any mundane task can be disguised as a game if you adopt a playful mindset.
Engaging in play, on purpose or not, can have tremendous benefits for you and your peers. It helps you connect with others, increase focus, reduce stress and be more creative. Laughter is even believed to improve your immune system over time. Plus, it’s just plain fun.
“I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off,” says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and laugh therapist. “They might be healthier too.”
Whether you carve out dedicated time or just develop a playful mindset, find a little time to play every day! And it’s never too late to start.