4 Amazing Benefits of Play
Summertime is here! Are you ready for a break? The wonderful truth is that taking a break and making time for play and fun actually creates lots of benefits in other areas of your life.
Now that the weather is lovely and warm again, it’s the perfect time of year to get outside and get our bodies busy making vitamin D, reconnecting with friends and family, and even getting some much-needed activity.
We all recognize the importance of play in the growth and development and happiness of children, but what we may not realize is the critical role that it plays in our adult lives. Spending time at play offers lots of benefits. Here are the top 4 amazing benefits of play that will help to increase your happiness.
1. Boosts Creativity and Problem-solving Skills
Sometimes all our brains need is an opportunity to think outside the box to get our creative juices flowing. Playing a game with friends or taking a pottery class can be just the thing to jumpstart the brain into thinking more creatively in other areas of our lives.
It also boosts problem-solving skills. For example, playing a game where you have to make strategic decisions is like a workout for that part of your brain. Some games depend on your ability to recognize patterns or predict likely outcomes. These skills can be extremely helpful in other areas of your life, and they can be strengthened by actually sitting down and having fun!
2. Improves Communication Skills
Another amazing benefit of play is that playing with others also improves communication skills. It gives unique opportunities to solve problems together or work cooperatively to reach goals. Enhancing your ability to communicate can be helpful in every relationship in your life.
Playing games together doesn’t have to be a competitive venture, either. There are lots of cooperative or team-based games that focus on a several players working together to defeat another team of players or to defeat the game. You might play a game in which you’re on a deserted island and have to decide which objects will help you survive or simply choose a “get to know you better” activity like the KCC team organized last week. There are lots of options.
3. Reduces Stress
Spending time at play can allow other parts of our brains to rest while we’re engrossed in a specific fun activity. Activities like fishing, surfing, cooking, planning a trip or just reading a good book might keep you focused on the activity itself for hours at a time. It gives our minds a break from worries or obsessive thoughts. Often it gives us an opportunity to find sometime we’re successful at and spend time doing it. Play activities also give us new, positive experiences to talk about with others, too.
4. Increases Energy Level
Obviously physical activities like playing sports can increase our physical endurance and boost energy in that way. One of the most amazing benefits of play is that even stationary fun activities have an effect on our energy levels. Having those positive experiences can boost our mood and give us activities that we genuinely look forward to, which also gives a lift to our energy levels.
Are you ready for a happiness challenge? Take a few minutes right now and write down three fun activities you enjoy. These can be sports, video games, board games, artistic activities, or other recreational activities.
Now, look at your calendar and pick a date to do one of these activities. Invite a friend or two if you can. Try making time for play at least a couple times per month and look for signs of the benefits in your life.
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For more tips on building happy relationships and boosting your overall happiness, check out my book, 21 Days to Happiness. In each chapter, you’ll find simple, practical tips for how to increase happiness in one area of your life. It takes just minutes to read a chapter each day, and at the end of three weeks, you’ll have new ideas for 21 different happiness habits! 21 Days to Happiness is available as a paperback, e-book, and new interactive online sessions.
Owner of KCC Positive Business Psychology & Happiness Expert