When was the last time that you played? This means you engaged in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. If you stopped playing somewhere between childhood and adulthood, you are missing out!
Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, explains that although play is unique from one person to the next it has some consistent elements in common. He suggests that play is essentially a state of mind rather than an activity, although movement can help us get into this state. For a great overview of the topic, check out his TED video, Play is More Than Just Fun.
Another way to think about play comes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The mental state of play is what he has defined as flow. Did you know that people who are in a state of flow are 5 times more productive? That’s why we’ve been studying this and have made significant life/work changes over the last two years to tap into the productive power of play (or flow!)
Some of the power (benefits) of play:
- more joy in life, increased well-being and less stress
- supercharge learning and improve brain function
- connection to others and the world around you
- make work more productive and enjoyable
Play is a potent fountain of youth. The National Institute for Play says that it’s the gateway to vitality. As George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”