SITE: “The Power of Play” (long article)
QUOTE: “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw
BENEFITS of PLAY (cont)
1. MENTAL // 2. PHYSICAL (Part 1)
3. 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, & so is a powerful catalyst for positive socialization.
Play provides us with an opportunity to choose alternatives to struggle, conflict & worry – that are healthier, more positive, promoting a sense of belonging & 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 minimize 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, & create emotional resilience
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 to foster self-expression by using different parts 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. We can choose to risk something important to achieve a goal of benefit.
We also need to manage incoming risk as an essential part of a full, healthy life. PLAY lets us experiment, explore & take risks with ideas & activities without worrying about consequences that could happen in “real life,” & teaches us that our fear-based ideas are not always true.
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 – Keep 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 life. But it’s a very important part of our personal well-being, & our right to develop a healthy Self.
In childhood we start to give 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 & caught up in the moment —> eliminates self-consciousness. 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, being the best we can, having 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 progress.
Play appears to allow the brain to exercise its flexibility = maintaining & renewing neural connections that embody the human potential to adapt, & meet many environmental conditions.
❖ Preserves the physical world – Recreation & leisure can protect the environment, as it gives us a reason to keep our surroundings clean and beautiful, which promotes a healthier planet.
NEXT: Early Trust Betrayal (Part 1)