May seem like a silly question or maybe a trick one. right? But there is growing evidence that play is not only a critical element in early human development, but throughout life, play serves us in the areas of physical and emotional health, character development, and stress relief. So ask yourself the question, “Do I play well?”
Take a play inventory and answer these questions:
1. How often or when was the last time I played a board game? cards?
2. How often or when was the last time that I played a game that involved using my whole physical body?
3. How often or when was the last time that I played a game that involved the use of memory and strategy
4. When was the last time I sang an entire song a cappela at full volume? or danced like crazy to music from high school days?
5. When did I last learn a new sport, craft, or art form?
Actually, while some of these activities have requirements of time, space, and friends, singing or dancing requires nothing but your body and your brain, and both improve cardiovascular function and emotional health. Combined with breathing exercises and meditation, the four can make a perfect 30 minute play time for you that will give you immediate and lasting benefits. It will make your physical heart and your spiritual heart both very happy, don’t you think?
Play doesn’t have to be planned out or organized as games. It can be as simple as sitting on the floor with your grandchildren and playing cars or doing cannonballs into the pool. Play that is simple and spontaneous will feel like play. Play that is connected to nature has special power. Research has shown that those people who play in nature feel more empathy for others and for the world around them.
Play everyday without exception. Play should be the number one thing to do on your daily list. Even if it is only for a few minutes, play a word game, a musical instrument, shoot some baskets, play charades about how your day went with your kids, it doesn’t really matter, just play and play well! And if you don’t know how to play, come to Body + Brain and we will help you remember how!
For more inquiry about the importance of play you can check out these references:
“Where do the Children Play?” produced by Metrocom International for Michigan Television through the University of Michigan. This film was loaned to me by a dear member who has a passion for children and providing each child with their best learning environment.
“Brain Wave Vibration” by Ilchi Lee. Available through Best Life Media and Amazon.com. This book is written by the founder of Dahn Yoga and developer of over 360 mind/body training methods that use the elements of play to help students recover their health and happiness.