I recently traveled to the beautiful Costa Rica to co-run a workshop about the power of playfulness in our adult lives. My co-facilitator and I showed up to the group wearing fox tails and prancing around the room. This got the group chuckling and clapping. Already, the vibe of the place became relaxed, light, open. This wasn’t going to be another 2 hour lecture about business or changing the world, but the message was going to be just as strong.
We know through science that play is crucial for the development of the child brain; however, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we’ve stopped playing. The benefits for adults are just as numerous, yet we continue to put play on hold in favor of activities that are “productive.”
In play we do not think about our stressors or our commitments. We do not have an “end goal” or purpose or point beyond having fun and enjoying yourself. It is getting lost in the moment. It is letting loose.
Play can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemical. When we are enjoying ourselves in an activity, we experience a feeling of happiness through these neurotransmitters. Endorphins have also been shown to be natural pain relievers and stress fighters.
Playing puzzles help improve brain functioning. Research has shown that engaging in games like sudoku, crossword puzzles, memory games, etc. have many cognitive benefits, including: slowing down effects of brain-degenerative disease, increase in memory, reduction in chances of dementia, increase concentration. However, remind yourself that this is JUST A GAME, and let go of self-pressure to must win.
You learn tasks faster when it’s fun and you’re relaxed. You are better able to retain new incoming information when you are relaxed rather than stressed out. At the same time, when a new task is set to be a game, you pick up the skills and retain them faster and longer.
Play stimulates your imagination and creativity helping you to problem solve. Remove the pressures of an end result and your mind is better able to think outside the box and adapt to an otherwise difficult situation.Play quiets the mind chatter that contributes to self-consciousness, limiting our potential.
Sharing laughter fosters empathy, compassion, trust, intimacy with others. Playing with others helps maintain healthy relationships by keeping them exciting and resilient. Playfulness can help us overcome disagreements, awkwardness, hurts, resentments with our partners or friendships. Play helps us with social skills, learning non-verbal communication, boundaries, overcoming aggression that might build up.
Play enriches our experience of sex. Let a farting noise be funny! When you fall off the bed in attempts of a fancy position, laugh it off and throw a pillow at your partner! Sex doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. In fact, it should be a good time! And just as I stated previously, play is letting go of an “end goal” and being present in the enjoyment of the process. So let go of the race to getting off and get silly!
If you ever come to one of my playful yoga classes, we often are flowing to funky jams, meowing and mooing in cat/cow, and turning poses into unicorns. Yoga doesn’t always need to be serious to get the awesome benefits it brings. So crack a smile, share a joke, and chattagrange. Tell me how it goes for you. 🙂
Join me March 20th at Racho Las Lomas in Silverado, CA for Xanadu’s Wildlife Adventure where I will be leading a playshop on Power of Play. Learn more about the barriers that keep us from play and strategies to increase it in your daily life. Get down and silly with me!
Check here for more information and ticket details: https://xanadu.ticketsocket.com/event/Xanadu-WildlifeAdventure
Use promo code: CatWild for $5 off your ticket. See you there!