You need to play more! Find out why here…

You need to play more! Find out why here…

5 Reasons Why Play Needs to Be a Part of a Happy Life

by Kathy Gottberg via The Huffington Post

Last summer Thom and I rented a condo in Rosarito, Mexico. For a month we enjoyed the temperate climate, mixed up our routine, spent time outdoors, and hung out with new and old friends. It was fun — pure and simple. And while playing and having fun might seem to be frivolous and extravagant in times of climate crisis, a struggling economy and political and social unrest around the world, play is much more than that. In fact, playing just might be the antidote to all those problems, plus much, much more.

Outrageous claim? Maybe. But the idea first came to me after reading a chapter in the book Essentialism — The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Surprisingly, McKeown makes a case for the importance of play in the lives of anyone wanting to live a more simple, fulfilled and meaningful life.

Defining Play

McKeown's definition of play is defined as "anything we do simply for the joy of doing rather than as a means to an end — whether it's flying a kite or listening to music or throwing around a basketball…" Author Susanna Millar, in her classic The Psychology Of Play says that play, "is an attitude of throwing off constraint." In fact, play and having fun is usually an inner-motivated and voluntary activity independent of traditional goals and outcomes.

Benefits To Play

Here are five of the biggest reasons to include fun and play in our lives:

1. It improves personal health. Dr. Stuart Brown, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates The Soul, says, "research suggests that play is a biological necessity." His short list of improved health benefits for both adults and children include:

• Weight maintenance

• Reduced risk for cardiovascular disease

• Strengthened bones and muscles

• Decreased risk from some cancers

• Improved balance and agility

• Increased chances of living longer

• Counteracts depression and can prevent recurrence.

2. Play leads to brain plasticity and higher function. Dr. Brown states in his book that play actually makes us smarter. Brown believes that there is a positive link between brain size/frontal cortex development and play. During play, the brain engages in simulations and grows connections that did not exist before. Also interesting is that play deficiency can lead to ill health and mental illness. Brown's research shows that severe play deprivation was evident in the lives of studied homicidal males in Texas…

…keep reading for more great reasons to and benefits of play – HERE