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The importance of being playful

The importance of being playful

Sometimes we get so drawn into our work, that we forget to be playful, have fun, re-energise and relax.

Research shows that playfulness is important for our health. A number of books have been written about playfulness, for example this and that one. Cultivating playfulness is beneficial, as you will learn if you read on.

What is playfulness?

The Oxford Dictionary describes playfulness as the quality of being light-hearted or full of fun. Research has shown that many mammals and birds such as Australian magpies are playful as well.

photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash

Why is it important to be playful?

In this paper the author argues that it is beneficial for juveniles to engage in play, because it makes it easier to navigate changing social, emotional and cognitive landscapes as an adult.
Playing also increases our creativity, and it makes us more cheerful and happy, at any age.

How can I be playful?

Whatever your age, try to do the following, with friends or family, or just for yourself:
– go for a walk without a purpose or destination, explore
– paint, make a sculpture from found objects, write a song
– get out of your comfort zone and do something new each week
– find a silly video that makes you laugh on your own
– sing and dance, dress up for fun
– play video, outdoor or board games with others
– be energetic and engage in rough-and-tumble play
– etc.

The list of activities is endless. If you have a favourite activity, let us know in the comments!

What are the benefits of play?

A few studies have dealt with playfulness in adults, for example The University of Zurich has carried out a set of studies to examine playfulness in adults. Results showed that play makes us cheerful, improves our emotional stability, and makes us more open to new experiences. This in turn makes us more robust when we face uncertainty, such as during times of lockdown.

Cultivating playfulness will also make it easier for us to cope with new situations. So what are you waiting for?

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