SITE: “The Power of Play” (long article)
QUOTE: “It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age. ~ Margaret Mead
EMOTIONAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL /SOCIAL Benefits
a. Reduces Struggle, Conflict & Worry – Because play includes using ones imagination & ability to fantasize it acts as an antidote to violent tendencies, a so is a powerful catalyst for positive socialization.
Play provides us with an opportunity to choose alternatives to struggle, conflict, and worry – alternatives that are healthier, more positive & promote a sense of belonging and connection to other people.
• Alice Miller points out that people neglected & abused in childhood were often deprived of developing an inner fantasy life – missing the ability to process rage & frustration in their internal world. They become lost in fear, anger & obsessive worry, making them more likely to become violent toward others, even to the point of murder
b. Mutual play heals emotional wounds
Vigorous play triggers endorphins that lift spirits & provide distractions from pain, fear, stress…
When done with others, whether friends or strangers, it helps us connect in delightful & meaningful ways that banish loneliness
• Regular play can also heal hurt feelings, anger & disagreements. Studies show that emotionally insecure people slowly replace negative beliefs & actions with positive ones by living with a secure partner.
Emotionally safe relationships heal, & creates emotional resiliency
c. Provides ‘role relief’ – This is not about the ACoA Toxic Roles but rather the normal set of roles adults take on, such as worker, boss, spouse, parent, sibling, adult-child….
Play allows us to guard against ‘role fatigue’ (burnout). Taking the time to balance between roles helps self-expression by using different pars of our personality, & makes room to practice new kinds of activities. Getting stuck in one role, such as ‘mom’ or ‘worker’ can reduce spontaneity & aliveness
d. Gives Opportunities to Take Risks – Successful, happy people know the difference between safe & unsafe risk, AND take healthy risks in small doses. Accepting risk is an essential part of a full and healthy life.
Play lets us experiment, explore & take risks with ideas & activities without worrying about consequences that could happen in “real life,” while teaching us our fear-based ideas are untrue.
e. Brings joy into our life – A basic reasons for playing is simply the sheer joy of it, a happy state of being. So playing as often as possible can preserve & nourish our own hearts & that of our community. It creates laughter, & a feeling of inner peace, encouraging emotional resiliency
❖ Sense of Lightness – Keeping in mind we’re made up of Physical, Mental, Emotional & Spiritual (PMES) components.
The spiritual benefits of play are not easy to verbalize, since people have different meanings for this aspect of our life. But it’s a very important aspect of our personal well-being, part of our right to develop a healthy Self.
In childhood we start giving meaning to our life through story-making & playing out various possible scenarios. As adults the ability to play & be active in things that suit our True Self – strongly promote a sound lifestyle
• Being absorbed in fun activities eliminates self-consciousness, being caught up in the moment. Infused with pleasure, we delight in the sheer “lightness of being”, stimulating creativity
Spiritual benefits can mean we: love being alive, have a positive attitude, be the best we can, have a deeper understanding of the world & its possibilities
Spiritual benefits include: refreshing & recharging, restoring optimism, changing perspective, renewing our ability to do the work of the world
❖ Enhances our Humanity – Play can have value on a broad scale – an important expression of our humanity, both imitating & advancing our process. Play appears to allow the brain to exercise its flexibility = maintaining & renewing neural connections that embody our human potential to adapt, & meet many possible environmental conditions.
❖ Preserves the physical world – Recreation & leisure can protect the environment, as it gives us a reason to keep our surroundings clean, which promotes a healthier planet.
NEXT: Why ACoAs Lie – #1