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The Power of Play and 10 Ways to Start Today
I LIKE to play.
I know you do too! If the thought of gaming doesn’t excite you, I suspect it’s only because you’re most likely disconnected from the part of yourself that craves laughter and joy.
Our desire to play is deep within us. My dogs remind me of this every night as they start their routine like clockwork of grabbing their collars, pulling teddy bears and running around the house chasing game.
Many of my overweight clients lack recreation in their lives. They run from commitment to commitment. Their family life and work leave little time for active gaming, so I’m not at all surprised when they call me after a binge. Their souls cry for something more. However, food will never fulfill that deep desire to create, jump, laugh and enjoy the simple joys of life.
I was saddened to read that a recent UNICEF study showed that American children are the 2nd least happy children in the world. However, I’m not surprised. See who their role models are. We robbed them of their breaks and show that climbing the ladder of success is more important than staying down and enjoying yourself.
We have also stolen our right to play in our lives. You deserve time. You deserve to be silly, laugh, and be curious about your world. So try some of the following techniques to give yourself the gift of the game.
1 – Schedule play time
Just like kids have recess (well, at least when they were supposed to), adults need to schedule play time into their schedules. When I make my weekly calendar, the game is at the top of my priority list.
If you don’t currently have any time in your life to play, then maybe you can start with just thirty minutes a week and then work your way up to at least fifteen minutes a day, hopefully more.
2 – Have a game night
Think back to when the adults in our lives unleashed a board game and the excitement it created. Board games are fun and a great way to bond with family and friends. My favorites are Monopoly and Taboo. What about yours?
3 – Drop the either/or position
Our Puritan roots have convinced us that we must work hard and play less, but I believe our work can be our play. Our work in the world should be a reflection of who we are, and we are inherently playful. So even if you’re in a job you don’t necessarily enjoy, or even if you LOVE your job, find ways to add more fun to your work environment.
Recently, one of my private clients confessed that she loves Zumba, a form of dance/exercise that is becoming quite popular these days, so I asked her to contact her boss if she would be willing to allow my client to host a lunch. Zumba class and voila, it worked. Now my client is looking forward to work because she figured out how to incorporate play into her work life, not to mention losing twenty pounds.
4 – Choose a sport
Sports are great! They get us outside, sweaty and a lot of fun. I encourage you to pick a sport that sounds fun or that you’ve always wanted to try and take a lesson, sign up for a course, or just go out and do it.
5 – Dance
My daughter and I enjoy dancing and I’m one of those geeky moms who knows how to “snap” it, “smash it” and all the other ways to “say it.” My daughter and I will put on some Black Eyed Peas and just keep busy, dance, laugh, and often end up in some physical state that forces me to ask for help from the dance floor.
When I dance I feel so alive, free and so grateful for my body.
Try playing some music and really feel the music and dance!
6 – Walk barefoot in the grass
I love having my clients do this exercise, especially my very sophisticated clients who HATE the thought of getting their feet dirty.
Take off your shoes and step outside into the morning grass and feel the blades between your toes. Feel the cold on your feet. Feel what it feels like to connect with the earth. Sometimes it’s the best catalyst to get us back in touch with our playful selves.
7- Become an astrologer
Remember studying the constellations in school? I found it so fascinating when I was trying to find the Little Dipper and the Big Dipper.
Not too long ago, I realized that even though I occasionally commented on the beautiful night sky, I had lost the wonder I had as a child, so I grabbed a blanket and set out to just stare at the sky curiously. .
Make a date with yourself and the starry sky and watch your curiosity reawaken.
8 – Go to the park
Parks begs us to join the game.
When I enter the park, I feel like I step out of the real world for a moment.
Plan a visit to the park. Grab a dog, a frisbee or just a good book and enjoy a moment of detachment.
Swing, skip, run or, if you’re brave, slide headfirst down the slide.
9 – Bubbles
Bubbles level game.
We loved bubbles as kids, but when do you lose that fascination? I’m convinced that somewhere inside us women, there is the same wonder when we see a bubble floating through the air.
As my daughter has grown, our bubble supply has definitely dwindled, but we still use bubble baths, and occasionally I’ll come across a party favor bag that has a bottle of concoction and a magic wand, and I’ll walk out and with the same fascination as a five-year-old, I’ll witness how the air and the solution creates this magical thing that floats through the air and then bursts. Amazing!
10 – Turn off the world and be
Sometimes the best game is to disconnect from all the chatter of the outside world and tune into the presence of our being. When you can do that, you start to get that childlike curiosity that opens up many ways to play, whether it’s studying the clouds in the sky and trying to name their shape, or just walking through the woods and just noticing what’s around. you.
You’re never too old to play. In fact, the older we get, the more we need it.
When you learn to be more playful in your life, you will find that the world opens up like a large amusement park and invites you in, and there you will discover play like you have never known.
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