WeedMD’s Tips for Healthy Living. Tip #6: Play

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct.” – Carl Jung

For many people, achieving a satisfactory ‘work/life’ balance can be a significant challenge.  Often, our hectic daily lives force us to prioritize work commitments to such a high degree that we rarely have time for fun.  Just because we become adults, doesn’t mean that we no longer benefit from the rejuvenating play that we enjoyed as children.  Play is as essential for adults as it is for kids.  It stimulates one’s imagination and creativity, develops problem-solving abilities, relieves stress, and enhances emotional well-being.

What is play?  Play is any activity that involves having fun without the requirement of achieving a specific goal.  Play can trigger the release of endorphins, which naturally improve one’s mood, and can even relieve pain temporarily.  Play that involves challenging the brain, such as puzzles or chess can help to prevent memory loss and improve overall brain function.  Additionally, engaging in play can help ward off feelings of depression.

In addition to improving the quality of relationships, and mood, play can help to heal emotional wounds, and keep you feeling young and vital.  As George Bernard Shaw famously said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  The energy and vitality one experiences through play can not only help you feel your best, but even improve resistance to some diseases.

It’s never to late to incorporate play in your daily life, but like anything else, it requires practice.  Try to clear your schedule for short periods throughout the week and give yourself permission to be spontaneous and uninhibited.  Your body and mind will thank you for it.