Constant worry about what’s around the corner is a waste of energy and can cause stress and anxiety. Your quality of life will improve a great deal when you take time to live in the present moment. You do that best when you play.
Recently I walked into a guest lecture presentation on leadership about the value of play and fun at work. The audience looked tentative and skeptical. Finally a man says, “You must be joking, we are professionals we take ourselves and our work seriously” (I hear this a lot). The following question usually helps people see why play and fun are important…
Imagine you got up right now and played a game for the next 30 minutes with your colleagues. You laughed joked, poked fun at each other and were really engaged in the activity- what would be the result?
Increased “feel good” endorphins
Increased Oxygen (increasing energy and focus)
Increased rapport and comrade
Have better social skills to relate to others
Increased creativity…. Just to name a few benefits.
The sum result of all of this is when you go back to work you would have more energy, better teamwork and be more productive. No I’m not kidding.
As a funny inspirational speaker my mission is to compel people to light up all the time but it has to be spontaneous. This is not a program but a philosophy. Fun is spontaneous- it doesn’t necessarily happen on schedule; it grows in a culture that fosters its existence. You can’t plan to have fun you just have it.
The definition of play is, ‘a physical or mental leisure activity that is undertaken purely for enjoyment or amusement and has no other objective'. (Play Therapy International)
The use of play engages people in the moment. Time flies when you’re having fun because fun is in the present moment. It is positive, healthy, and vibrant and it is right here right now. When you play you usually laugh -Laughing heightens the experience of being in the present moment because it involves the emotions, the body, and the intellect, all at the same time.
The Power of Now. When you are in the moment you have an infinite source of energy, it’s a state of flow where things are easy. You are in the present, and it’s the most dynamic, fluid awareness.
Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego (Landreth, 2002). In addition, play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival. Learning and development are best fostered through play (Russ, 2004)
More Fun = More Energy
Think of fun as something like electricity that can be accessed in different wattages. When you play more you learn to use higher energy levels for a sustained time. You can learn to plug into more power and use it without burning yourself out. Some people can use only very small amounts of power and some have developed and earned the ability to use very large amounts of it.
Manage your Time and your Energy
Managing time often involves setting goals to be reached within a set timeframe. Goals that won’t be accomplished immediately but hours, a month or a year down the road. To be most productive we have to also manage our energy. It’s our energy that we give to the present moment where we actually get the work done. There are numerous ways to increase energy like exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc and they all involve leaving the activity (the work that achieves the goal), get energized and come back to the work.
Fun also increases energy and it’s in the moment, so it doesn’t require time away from your present activity. If you can have fun while working, by experiencing the work you are doing as playful, light hearted and fun than you increase energy, accomplish goals, and stay in the moment. In essence with fun we can manage our energy and our time.
So often in modern life we never seem to have enough time to spend with our children - just playing, just being there for them.
Play is now widely recognized as being beneficial in the emotional development of children. It has a therapeutic value. Play therapists are licensed professionals who use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development. (Association for Play Therapy)
Techniques used by play therapists range from Therapeutic Story Telling, Drama and Role Playing, Puppets and Masks.
Some studies indicate that 70% of children who have psychological problems are helped through the use of psychological based therapies such as play and creative arts.
Neuroscience research confirms the importance of play for infants in developing children's brains and minds. It has also been shown that exposure to metaphor and symbols, as used in play, has a beneficial effect upon the development of the brain.
If your whole life is wrapped up in reaching future goals you may be missing the greatest fun of all…. It’s the present. Live for Today Play for Today.