You do remember play don’t you? That feeling of unbridled fun and enjoyment of what you were doing?
A study by the New York Times Sunday Magazine says that recent college graduates surveyed were sorry they didn’t play more in college… imagine that, those college kids aren’t having as much fun as we think they are!
“they didn’t socialize enough, play enough, have fun and or take full advantage of extra-curricular activities offered by the school:
When is the last time you just played?
It’s good for you says the National Institute for Play.
For centuries, thoughtful observers have recognized play as a central element of life, throughout life. Not only for children, but for working and retired adults. In play our burdens feel lighter and we are opened to new possibilities. But play goes even deeper – it shapes our brains to make us smarter and more able to adapt in novel situations; and this happens for all players, old and young.
There are seven types of play according to the institute:
If you’re not playing enough, you may be giving up more than you ever imagine. Consider this, research by the Play Institute shows that play is the way to vitality.
Patch Adams was real remember and he says that play is as important as love to be really happy. If one is deprived of play they become depressed, more prone to violence and stress related disease.
Play will also help your relationships. Between two adults, being able to tell stories, yes even share fantasies, and laugh together at some of life’s ridiculous turns will help ground and cement the relationship. Are you familar with the commercial for Sonic? The couple in their car mouthing words to their neighbors in the car next to them all the while being snarky? Playing.
Education is suffering because there is less play in schools. Arts and music programs are cut, recesses shortened, more standardized testing leaves little time for kids to learn by playing.
Need innovation in business? Play more. Work does not have to be the opposite of play. But it is. The same bosses that whine about needing more innovation are the ones that look over their glasses when a loud burst of laughter explodes.
# “It would be great if I had more time to play; I can’t in the demanding climate of real work!”
# “Play is good. That’s obvious. So what? I’m here to work”
# “Of course I need to play more. Tell me something I don’t know.
# Tell the stockholders and my CEO, then maybe I’ll be able to play.”
# “Play is for people who are retired or have trust funds. Or both.”
# “Play is for kids.”
Why didn’t the Polar Bear eat the Husky?
A final thought:
Kids have society’s permission to play, and most adults don’t. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, most of us exchange play for work, and forget to play with the abandon and joy of childhood. Giving adults the “go ahead” and techniques to resume adult forms of play offers multiple benefits. Being capable of generating, recognizing and acting on the play signals of others establishes, or re-establishes trust, safety and adaptation to the unexpected or complex. Perhaps this truth has been buried in the usual win-lose contests that characterize most adult negotiations.