Play More is a series of posts presenting the value of play. Play, for both children and adults, is as essential to health as are eating well, exercising and diet. Integrating play into the family unit, increases emotional bonds, a sense of well being, and is an element of successful navigation in an ever growing complex world.
This post is based on, “The Healing Potential of Adults at Play”, by Dottie Ward-Wimmer https://www.psychceu.com/Schaefer/intro.pdf retrieved 2/16/2017
When at play, both our analytical and creative mind interacts in a symbiotic, relaxed nature that increases the flow of creativity and elicits a feeling of a relaxed state. In this relaxed state of being our body is able to better support the biological needs such as breathing, digestion, and heart functions. Play allows the “unwinding” of stress that attacks the immune system. There are several books about increasing outdoor activities and getting involved in a sport and although this is strongly supported, not many talk about the health aspects of simple play. No competition (not even with yourself), no rules, just simple play as found in coloring, tinkering, toy cars, action figures or dolls.
Dottie writes, “Play can increase our self esteem. It invites access to states of well-being and calm as well as stillness and joy. When released in play, we often have an increased capacity for empathy and intimacy.” She goes on to support the premise for adult play therapy stating that it releases stress, increases confidence, and connects adults to the joy projected on the things loved in childhood. “Play is a natural and enduring behavior in adults. It has healing powers for the mind and spirit that we are only beginning to appreciate and learn to use.”
Take the time to Play More. You have earned it; your mind and body need it.