Play and Mental Health

Who decided that as adults we had to stop playing? Not only is play an essential activity for children it is great source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well.  Playing be it with a partner, children, co-workers, friends or even your pets is a great way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and improve your mental health. And actively playing with your kids will not only improve your own mood and well-being, it will make your kids smarter, better adjusted, and less stressed.

Adult play is a time to forget work and the constraints of modern-day stresses and strains, it is time to enjoy things in an unstructured, fun and creative way.  Play does not need to have an aim it can be anything from playing frisbee on a beach, building a snowman with the children, joking and having a laugh with colleagues, getting on the bike with no destination in mind and just enjoying being out in nature.  By allowing yourself to be able to play with the abandonment that children do you can reap so many health benefits.

Some of the reasons we play:

  • to learn, to create, to feel challenged, to lose ourselves in a pleasurable activity, to calm and focus ourselves, competitively to win,cooperatively, for the fun and joy of it.

The benefits of play:

Relieve Stress:

To relieve stress, playing releases the bodies natural be happy, feel good chemical.  Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and happiness.

Improve brain function:

Playing chess, solving puzzles or doing other activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function.

Stimulate the mind and boost creativity.

Children learn things better during play, this applies to us as adults as well you learn a new task better if in a relaxed and playful mood.   Play can also stimulate the brain helping solve problems and tasks.

Keep you feeling young and energetic.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

So as we see from this short post that could go on and on, play is an important factor in so much of our well-being be it physical or mental health.

When did you last climb a tree, jump in a puddle, play on the swings, kicked a ball around a field with friends, jumped in a river or lake and played.  It seems that the only play held in any regard as an adult is competitive, result driven play.  Lets get back to being a kid once in a while, the only thing stopping you is YOU!


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