From the time we are small, play comes naturally to us. In fact, as a child, not only is our play creative and innovative but it also teaches us self-control and self-direction.

For many years we enjoy this dance of play and experience of the world around us. And then we grow older and for many of us the joy of play becomes lost. Play becomes a luxury and not always a priority.

When did we become too busy being an adult to let play disappear from our lives? [Tweet it!]

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending TEDx Navesink (if you don’t know about TED, click here to be impressed and blown away). Each TED conference typically has a running theme. At TED x Navesink, the theme was play…I was in my glory.

We played, talked about the science of play, the play of flavors in beer, and the experience of play in all areas of our life (from the office to our own backyards).

I like to play. For many years, I felt guilty when I was playing because that meant I wasn’t working.

When did working more and playing less become a barometer for success? [Tweet it!]

Author and research professor of psychology at Boston College, Peter Gray, spoke about the imperative relevance of play at all stages of human development. Peter shared that mammals (humans included) deprived of play often have deficits in their social skills, signals, and interactions. Since the experience of self-directed play is essential to innovation, lack of play can impact our ability to make informed decisions, problem solve, and cope with challenges.

When we invite play into our lives, we assume an internal locus of control. We learn that we have the ability to make things happen rather than feeling powerless to “having things happen to you.” In our experience of play, we begin to understand our true ability to determine our future and harness our true potential.


Use these 3 essential tips to decrease your stress and increase your happiness

  1. Watch Children: Whether taking an untethered moment among your own children or while walking through a park, be sure to watch how children play. Children remind us of the innate sense of play that we are all born with. They run, they jump, and they interact with others. Children show us that the experience of play can be spontaneous, a true feeling of flow.
  2. Invite Peace: Take time to invite calm into your life. When we jump from one ‘doing action’ (work) to another ‘doing action’ (run/tennis match/soccer carpool/intense yoga class) we don’t allow ourselves to just BE. By inviting peace and calm into our lives we give ourselves permission to take a deep breath into our entire self, giving space for serenity to be part of who we are rather than what we are doing.
  3. Schedule it: Sometimes we don’t make time for play (or sex, or even the plumber) unless it’s in our daily planner. If playing everyday feel indulgent than start with twice a week. Set a goal to double your time spent playing in six months time. We all know that “all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl (and probably a cranky one too!).”


In the comments below, I would love to know: How do you invite play into your life?



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