The Importance of PLAYING As Adults

Somewhere between childhood to adulthood we stop playing, We get so busy living life or numbing out in front of the television that we forget the benefits of play. Play is not just for kids. Tamis-Lemonda cited by Kesser explains, “play is being joyfully immersed in the moment, and as adults, we rarely do that.”How do we define play in adults? Play is a source of relaxation and stimulation for adults. According to Ajiboye (2018), play is “Being happy, relaxed, free, feeling like time
is flowing, not constantly checking your watch — those things signify that you are in play mode.” Kesser (2019) defines play as, “An activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, rather than any serious or practical purpose.” Play has purpose, lays the foundation for our relationships, allows for growth physically, emotionally, and
spiritually, as well as keeps adults young and youthful.

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Play has purpose. In adults play not only releases feel good hormones, it stimulates brain
function, contributes to successful problem solving, kindles creativity, and potentially
lowers the risk of coronary heart disease (Kesser, 2019).
It promotes positive behaviors in: developing healthy friendships and romantic
relationships, stimulates creativity, productivity, flexibility, cooperation, and problem
solving, as well as reduces stress.
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Lays the foundation for healthy relationships.
Parent/child relationship- playing with your child sends the simple message: You are
important to me. There is not better message to convey to your child.
Playing at work boosts productivity and innovation by: keeping you functional when
under stress, refreshes your mind and body, encourages teamwork, prevents burnout, and
can help you see problems in new ways. Play improves interactions with others, reduces
awkwardness in new relationships, can promote recovery in conflict, and fosters trust and
intimacy.

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Play allows for growth physically, emotionally and spiritually. The benefits of playing on
physical health are numerous. Relieving stress releases endorphins, which are our body’s
natural feel good chemicals. These endorphins can relieve physical as well as emotional
pain and promote and overall sense of well-being. Playing improves brain function and
can also help prevent memory problems.
Play allows for growth emotionally. It improves relationships and connections with
others. It fosters empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy (Kesser, 2019). It encourages
utilizing social skills, breaks down barriers, and can help replace negative beliefs and
behaviors (Kesser, 2019). Play is essential in bringing people closer together, creating a
positive bond, and resolving conflict.

Play allows for growth spiritually. Fun activities are spiritually enriching. God wants us
to relate positively with others and play is a vehicle for this to be accomplished. Play
promotes relaxation and in relaxing we can open our minds to ponder the things that
make us feel alive. “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with
shouting” (Job 8:21). “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the
bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

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Play keeps you feeling young and increases energy. “We don’t quit playing when we
grow old. We grow old when we quit playing” (George Bernard). Play has been proven
to improve memory and stimulates growth in the cerebral cortex (Robinson, Smith, and
Shybin, 2019). Play increases energy and vitality, improves resistance to disease and aids
functioning at your best (Ajiboye, 2018).
Considering the health benefits of play, make play a priority. Schedule play-time into
your daily routine. Additionally, be intentional about having a playful mind. Play will
strengthen your ability to cope with life’s struggles, increase a healthy lifestyle, and will
bring joy into your life. Play has purpose! Go play today!

-Debra Martin

 

References
Ajiboye, T. (7.2018). Adults Need Recess Too. Here’s Why You Should Make Time to
Play. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/adults-need-recess-too-here-s-why-you-
should-make-ncna887396Adults need
Kresser, C. (3/27/2019). 10 Benefits of Play.https://chriskresser.com/10-benefits-of-play/.
Robinson, l.., Smith, M., Segal, J., Shybin, J. (6/2019). The Benefits of Play for Adults.