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It's more than just fun!
Freedom to play
I think it is common for people to have seasons of life where the laughter dries up and the fun is sparse. We may even believe that we face such challenges and sadness that laughter should not be encouraged. Somehow fun is even inappropriate. This is mixed-up thinking. In our most difficult experiences finding some fun and laughter is just what we need, Do you need to give yourself permission to laugh?
A couple of years ago during a really tough time, I took my little dog Rafi out for a walk in the snow. As I got close to home I rolled a snowball and was overtaken by the urge to build a snowman. I dismissed the thought of my teenage boys rolling their eyes at their mad mother and immediately began project snowman. To my surprise, I was shortly joined by my boys and husband. We played and laughed together so much. It was the very best kind of therapy.
That evening I captured Rafi’s words to me in an illustration. It was my second drawing of what became many of her little dog’s wise sayings.
We have a new puppy, Barney. He certainly knows about play. It is innate. He draws me in. I have been playing with him today. I can feel the mood boost and positivity. In fact, he’s flying around the kitchen right now with a stuffed lion as I type. Who knew that lions squeak?!
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Play is natural for children and crucial for their development, but it’s more than an activity for childhood. In his book:Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul Stuart Brown says As humans ‘we are designed to be lifelong players, built to benefit from play at any age.’ For adults play can add joy to our lives, relieve stress, supercharge our learning, and connect us to others.
“the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression“
I love the graphic below from Encourage Play which summarises Dr Brown’s work.
What is your primary play personality? I think I’m predominately a mixture of an artist and an explorer. I’m excited as this week I’m starting a seven-week hand-building pottery class. That’s me sorted for some play. How about you? I’d love to hear in the comments how you will include play in your life.