“Play” has historically been underrated, but I think that “younger people” have embraced play consciously and unconsciously in their everyday lives. Play can be found in ALL the social media posts, from kitten/puppy videos to travel photography and DIY posts. Play gives us a hit of all the good chemicals and when applied properly can open our minds to being creative, in flow and in a state of relaxation.
The most effective play is IRL (In Real Life), in a tangible, interactive, engaging way. Video games and observing social media, for our purposes, don’t count. The brain shows up in a very different way when physical activity is added to a process. It retains more, it is able to be more creative and problem solve in more global ways than in passive receive input ways.
How can you play today to fully immerse your body and brain, and whatever else you have going on? Some “productive” and whimsical ways are listed below.
Pick an activity where you get to interact with the physical world. Photography counts, building a city with blocks counts, using action figures or dolls to create a story counts, painting on any object counts, and I’ll admit that creating with a graphics or coding program does count. Any activity that has an idea behind it that requires working through a process, hitting a wall of WTH, overcoming the WTH, and arriving at a result – for better or worse – Do NOT judge the result will get those creative juices flowing.
Playing a IRL game alone or with others definitely counts as play. Spreading out on a patch of grass and watching clouds drift by counts, especially if your brain finds unicorns and lions and tigers and bears in those clouds. Make a chain of daisies, do stuff you did when you were a kid – mud pies, vintage toys, whatever.
Although IRL fully immersed is most effective, theoretically, if for some reason you’re unable to get physical, you CAN sit and immerse yourself in a memory of play – remembering smells, season, temperature, colors, tactile sensations – and your brain won’t really know the difference. These memories can become inspiration or a happy place to revisit when needed.
So how will you go play today?