Not long ago, my colleagues and I participated in an impromptu air band session. It was a moment of pure spontaneity with no purpose or objective. It was impulsive, without guidelines or restrictions. It just happened; a pause in the midst of a hectic day immersed in play. It was FUN and left us feeling invigorated and refreshed.
Kids get to play. In fact, they’re encouraged to play. It has been shown that play boosts children’s ability to problem solve, increases flexible thinking, allows children to try out new skills without fear of failure, gives children opportunities to explore different roles, and identifying likes and dislikes.
Play holds these same benefits for adults, yet, adults are not encouraged to play. In fact, adults are discouraged to play. Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood play is left behind and we are encouraged to be focused, serious, and productive. There’s nothing wrong with being focused, serious, and productive, everything has its time and place. However, when these become a person’s only focus it can cause mental and physical health problems.
In the book, Free Play, by Stephen Nachmanovith, play is sited as a crucial part of the creative process. Nachmanovith states, “Our play fosters richness of response and adaptive flexibility…Play enables us to rearrange our capacities and our very identity so that they can be used in unforeseen ways.”[i] Other added benefits of play for adults include:
Reduces Stress Play induces fun and fun increases endorphin levels, including serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that regulates most of our basic processes–including sleep, memory, body temperature, and mood. Play helps you relax and connect with others this naturally increases the body’s serotonin levels.[ii] Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.[iii]
Improves Overall Mood Adding more play and fun into your life can improve your mood and attitude. Play can give you a break from troubles and give you a fresh outlook. Laughter and play go together. We know that laughter increases oxygen to the brain which makes you feel good. The uplifting feelings accompanying play remain with you long after the play has stopped, even creating positive memories that can last a life time.
Take a break and play today, it will improve your mode, help you connect with others, increase your energy, relieve stress, and so much more. Hey, come play with us at WCCE. In fact, WCCE will be hosting a FREE improv group sure to fill the need for fun in your life. Contact us to reserve you spot today!