Your body cannot heal without play.
Your mind cannot heal without laughter.
Your soul cannot heal without joy.
— Catherine Rippenger Fenwick
And I would add “your prosperity cannot heal without time off.” So even though I am in the midst of launching a new program and it seems counter-intuitive when I have so much on my plate, I have gone to the beach for a quick swim several times this week because I am finally appreciating the direct link between play and inspiration, creativity and productivity.
The energy of play is aligned with the energy of abundance. I have asked many successful teachers, authors, and coaches what they felt was their “secret sauce” for success. They unanimously shared that when they finally began to take more play time for themselves, their business and success soared.
One motivational speaker confided that years ago when she was a realtor, she made the unpopular decision to only work Monday to Thursday, and take time with her family on long weekends. Even though she wasn’t working the prime time weekends doing open houses, this was the turning point when she really started making serious money as she felt refreshed, renewed and super focused when she was working. Basically, it returned her to a healthier balance, and she was happy again!
Marci Shimoff, perhaps one of the bestselling self-help women authors of all time, shared how she planned a week long silent retreat on a remote island nearly a year in advance. However, she almost canceled the retreat as she was launching a new book, thinking it was crazy to go away at such a critical time in her business.
Yet Shimoff reminded herself that she scheduled the retreat knowing how critical it was to take time to unplug. On day two of the retreat she was totally rewarded, as she received the inspiration for Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul which led to six bestsellers and sold over 13 million copies.
In his book Play, author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. He writes, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” This makes sense when we consider play is art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting and daydreaming, writes Dr. Brown, who worked with renowned playful physician Patch Adams.
Healing Benefits of Play
Personally, since I have committed to playing this summer, I feel much better in my body. It is easier to follow my intuition about what food my body is craving, and I freed up time to overcome my resistance to cooking, and explore new recipes so I can prepare healthier meals. My relationship with my partner is also so much lighter and enjoyable as we share more fun moments together.
These benefits and more have been well documented. In the article “The Importance of Play for Adults”, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. shares that play can:
- Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals that promote a sense of well-being and can even relieve pain.
- Stimulate the brain. Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function.
- Boost creativity and problem solving. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and problem solve. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood.
- Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. 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.
- Keep you feeling young and vital. Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease.
Tips to Add More Play = JOY to your Day
Play is a fertile field for joy to blossom. Yet we often think we have to take a long vacation and wait for once a year to actually play. In his book, Dr. Brown writes that a little bit of play can go a long way toward boosting your productivity and happiness. So how can you incorporate more play in your life? Here are a few tips:
- Change how you think about play. Any time you think play is a waste of time, remember that it offers some serious benefits for both you and others. Remember that play is important for all aspects of our lives, including productivity, creativity and relationships. Give yourself permission and schedule some play time daily.
- Play with children and pets. Playing with kids and animals helps us experience the magic of play. I have even witnessed puppies playing with older dogs who were arthritic and depressed, and it gave them a whole new lease on life.
- Bringing the element of play into daily tasks. During the day, I may run outside for a few minutes and sniff a flower, or walk barefoot in the grass. I love to add music to mundane tasks like paperwork and kitchen chores, and even dancing doing dishes. I sing songs and affirmations while showering which always lifts my spirit.
Now that you are aware of the myriad benefits of play, no more excuses. What are some ways you can add a bit of play to your day?