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Play! Life is too short to be serious

Photo: Marcin Dampc



WHY HAVE WE STOPPED PLAYING?
As babies, we are born with a large spirit. Everything was a new experience. We touched things to feel and put things in our mouth to taste, there was no fear there. Our body was small but our spirit was really big, we were our true authentic selves.

When we were hungry we cried out loud until someone fed us, when we were wet we cried until someone changed us. We were unstoppable! Until the growing up process took over! A child looks forward to birthdays, it is always a count down.

As kids, we were so excited about turning one year older. And as each year passed by, we started hearing phrases like these all the time: “You are a big boy now”, “You are the big sister”, “You must behave like a big girl now”, “ Stop behaving like a baby” and so much more.

And slowly we started to limit ourselves. In school, children are surrounded with other kids. They learn a lot more, develop their own perception and are capable of having judgments about what is good, what is bad and all about what should and shouldn’t.

Conditioning from society, culture, from our parents are part of molding the personality. As young adults it’s all about fitting in and not losing opportunities related to personal life, career and many more. During the whole process of growing up, the body grows but the spirit becomes smaller and smaller.

For some, pride and ego make us believe PLAY is silly. Our inner child is always with us but we must let it come out to play once in a while, to be OUR AUTHENTIC SELF, WITH NO PRETENSE. In our hectic, modern lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun.

Play is not just essential for kids; it is also an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults. Being playful is being at peace with the environment and oneself. It’s about letting oneself go and enjoying being in the moment. If you have participated in a team activity like basketball, cricket, treasure hunt or anything fun, you would have noticed that you become a completely different person. You laughed, you fought for your team and you were only focused on the enjoyable part of the game.

You played just the way you would have played when you were younger. Our inner child is always there within us. This is our true authentic self, having pure fun! When there are no expectations, awards or trophies there is no stress. It’s about being in the moment and letting go.

We take life so seriously that somehow we have forgotten to include playfulness. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” this statement is so true. Being playful and letting go is essential to feel at peace, yet we hold back.

Photo: Bernard Hermant

FROM PLAY TO PLAYFULNESS
During childhood, kids learn verbal communication, body language, boundaries, cooperation, and teamwork. And as adults we continue to refine these skills through play and playful communication.

A PLAYFUL MINDSET is a mode of perception that brings the biggest satisfaction. This Play mode of being produces a positive hormonal response. Our brain is willing to learn, when we provide safe and challenging circumstances that will arouse our learning capabilities.

When we are playful, we are instantly integrated with our own self and with the activity: SATISFACTION + POSITIVE RESPONSE + INTEGRATION + WILLINGNESS TO LEARN = THE STATE OF FLOW (the ultimate state of inner power and peace) DON’T STOP PLAYING, INDULGE IN A PLAYFUL MINDSET.

There are so many benefits of approaching things with a PLAYFUL MINDSET:

Relieve stress
Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Improve brain functions
Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.

Stimulate the mind and boost creativity
Young children often learn best when they are playing – a principle that applies to adults, as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems.

Improve relationships and your connection to others
Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to include a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.

Make you feel 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.” Imagine an 84 years old great grand-mother just brightening up with laughter and joy as she plays with her 14 months old great grand-daughter. This great grand-mother does not stop playing because she is old. She is living a joyful life because she allows her inner-child out to play once in a while. Play can boost our energy and vitality and even improve our resistance to disease, helping us function at your best.

Help Develop and Improve Social skills
Social skills are the foundation for having positive relationships with others for example with family, partners, friends etc. These skills allow you to connect with other people on a level that is important in life so you can have more in-depth relationships.

Can heal emotional wound
When we are playful, we shed that strong suit we wear called “Ego”. Ego will always want to make you believe you are always right. When that layer is shed off, you break that barrier and create space that allow people to come into your life.

Photo: Tom Levold

So don’t lose time and start having a playful mindset as often as you can. Start transforming dull tasks into fun games, laugh and play as much as you can.

And if you need more ideas, our triggers from the FlowHub7 platform can surely help you!

Meera Nair, Flow Education Expert

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