Why we need to place more importance on, play. In a world full of tasks, when do we find time to not do any, and relax. As we continue to glamorize being busy, seeing how many plates we can keep spinning while riding a unicycle balanced on a basketball. The idea of play is quite simple, play is in of itself. It is something you choose to do, that no matter how great, or terrible you are at it, nothing in the world changes. If you blow air through a trumpet and it makes noise, its either going to make beautiful sound, or a terrible sound, and the only thing that changes is how you feel.
I recently had a client that came to me for anxiety, and we spent some time discussing play. She mentioned to me that she tried arts and crafts, but it made it worse. Why is that, you think? Well even though it may seem trivial it isn’t play, it is a task. You are still comparing your work to someone else, the person that you copied. Yours doesn’t look as good as theirs, now you feel terrible again. If you chose to do arts and crafts because you were called to do it, and you enjoy creating something unique then that would be play. She could have chosen to do arts and crafts and create her own one of a kind work of art, this may have made her more content.
One of my favorite scientists, Nikola Tesla once quoted “Most people are sick because they forgot how to play”. Nature is playful, and we are part of that plan. We are simply grown up children that still need time to run, and play. This allows our muscles and our minds to continue to grow, long into old age. If you really stop and think, how many diseases that are affecting our elderly could be prevented by continually engaging in play, play that is filled with discovery, learning and struggle.
I encourage you if you have children, drum up some creativity and imagination, sit down on the floor and play with trucks, and answer the plastic phone when it rings. If you don’t have kids find yourself out in the forest, my suggestion is to take a day off from work and head to the forest in the middle of the day. I play this game where I run around like a little kid, singing “Nobody can hear me, nobody can see me”. If you want to throw rocks, or pick up sticks, sing a song that makes no sense, then who cares. No one can see you anyways, and the birds surely don’t care.
I will include a great excerpt from a book about growing up. The book is called “Somatics: Reawakening The Mind’s Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health” Thomas Hanna
“To become an adult means that we no longer have to do the things we did as kids. Kids run, but we adults walk. Kids climb, but we take the elevator. Kids scoot under bushes, but we go around them. Kids stand on their heads, but we sit on our bottoms. Kids roll on the ground, but we turn on the mattress. Kids jump up and down, but we shrug our shoulders up and down. Kids laugh with joy, but we smile with restraint. Kids are exuberant, but we are careful. Kids want to have fun, but we want to have security.
In short, to become a successful adult means to cease acting like a kid. It is the customary sign of adulthood to cease functioning like a young person. But this conception of adulthood has an unavoidable result: As soon as we stop using these functions, we lose them. And we lose them because our brain, which is a highly responsive organ of adaptation, adjusts to this lack of activity. If certain actions are no longer part of our behavioral inventory, our brain crosses them off”.
BY: Joe Kleman
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