What ever happened to play time?

We had tons of it as kids and then it evaporates in adulthood. 

Our responsibilities expand and our bandwidth shrinks.

But play has never been more important and it’s crucial for our continued development as adults.

Did you know there is a National Institute of Play?

It’s founder, Stuart Brown, conducted a study of 6,000 people and found that play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability and creativity.

His conclusion: “Nothing fires up the brain like play”.

Play is important in the animal world too and has been shown to lead to the development of key cognitive skills and may even play a role in a species’ survival.

Researcher Bob Fagen spent 15 years studying grizzly bears and found that those who played the most, tended to survive the longest.

When asked why, he said, “In a world continuously presenting unique challenges and ambiguity, play prepares these bears for a changing planet.”

And it can do so for us as well.

Ever notice how many of your best memories come from moments of play?

It’s not a coincidence.

Play expands our minds.  It allows us to explore.  It makes us more inquisitive, more attuned to new things and more engaged.

Play is also a huge stress reliever. 

Stress short-circuits our brains.  It makes us more forgetful and impairs our problem-solving.

It reduces activity in the part of the brain responsible for cognitive function (the hippocampus). 

Play reverses that.

There have been huge breakthroughs by some of the world’s greatest thinkers when they were at play – from Newton, to Einstein, to Shakespeare. 

Watson and Crick won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of DNA’s double helix structure.  They did so while at play with different shapes.

Great things can be accomplished through play.  But play can also help you feel freer and more connected to others.

Is your life lacking fun?

Play can help.

Look at your past. 

Do you have any play memories?

What did you do as a kid that excited you?

How can you recreate that today?

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