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How to Add More Play in Your Life

health & vitality mind & meaning May 31, 2021

Many of us lead such hectic lives that we don’t make enough time for pure fun... the kind of uninterrupted rejuvenating play that we loved as children.

What if we could tap into play as adults to enhance our life experience and our health? 

I recently interviewed Otto Siegel, the CEO of Genius Coaching, about the power of play on episode 42 of The MINDset Game® Podcast. I got feedback from several listeners about how much they benefited from this episode because it reminded them to create opportunities to just go do something fun.    

Giving yourself opportunities to forget about your work and other commitments and to “play” in a creative and unstructured way can be very empowering. Studies show that it releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which contribute to your health and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Play can also improve brain functionality and stimulate creativity. In fact, it has been shown to trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells. And, when you play with others, the social interaction can also help lessen stress and depression. Bottom line, having fun improves your mental, emotional and physical health.  

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

- George Bernard Shaw


So how can you play as an adult? 

It could be as simple as joking around with friends or a coworker, playing with your pet, going for a bike ride, playing chess or cards, completing a puzzle, building a snowman in the yard, playing sports, making new friends, singing, dancing, painting, or wearing a fun costume on Halloween with the kids (or grandkids). The important thing is to have nothing to do but relax and enjoy yourself.  

Many companies are now tapping into the power of play as a way of increasing productivity and innovation. They create a fun work environment by providing cool games such as ping-pong, offering art or meditation classes, keeping tactile puzzles and brain teasers on conference room tables, and encouraging recess-like breaks throughout the workday to detach and renew. I loved visiting the Google office in San Francisco a couple of years ago because of all the fun designs and the many game rooms. These organizations know that more play at work results in higher engagement, more creativity, lower absenteeism and turnover, and a more positive and connected culture. 

I imagine you'd agree that we can all could use more fun in our responsible, adult lives.

So, schedule some time for play (or be spontaneous!). You deserve to feel good and enjoy the precious moments of your life. Chances are that you’ll feel better, be more productive, and perceive the issues or problems in your life through a new lens. Have FUN!

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