There’s something to be said for keeping your “inner child” alive, active and entertained. It’s okay to be playful. In fact, it’s good for you. As adults, we have a tendency to think of play as an unproductive waste of time. I’m here to counter that argument.
At age 34, I still get giddy when passing a playground. I love swings and monkey bars. I turn cartwheels down the beach (and occasionally in empty hotel hallways) and just last week ventured to a trampoline park with my work colleagues—sans children. We let loose, acted silly and had a blast. See my Instagram stories for comical tumbling outtakes.
Research shows that play yields powerful benefits for kids. It helps them learn, stimulates creativity, teaches social networking and reduces stress. Those same results hold true for adults. The scholar quoted above, Brian Sutton-Smith, believed so strongly in play that he dedicated his life to its study. He found it essential to our well-being. Like sleep, Sutton Smith argued that play is a basic human need. If you want to dive deep into the topic, some have even suggested a lack of play can contribute to violence.
While playing with your children is a wonderful and essential thing, we are talking about play in addition to those moments, an “adult recess” of sorts.
This playfulness should be distinctly joyful and personal to you.
It can take many different forms, frolicking on a beach, kicking around a soccer ball with a rec league, collecting something or perhaps reading a book. However, the non-profit National Institute for Play says three things should hold true:
Think back to what you enjoyed as a child. How can you connect to that now? Is there a way to adapt a favorite activity from your youth? Here are a few ideas to get you started…