Archive for August 2009

The Power of Play   Leave a comment

Happy August!

During these extremely lazy and hazy days, I’ve taken to staying inside with the AC and in addition to finishing the last Harry Potter saga (fab, wonder how they will do it justice in the movies, but that is the subject of another blog..), I’ve also just finished an awesome book called Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, MD.

Dr. Brown, founder of the National Institute of Play, a nonprofit in Carmel, CA, explains the importance of playing is vital to maintain a sound mind, body and spirit.  But if you are like most harried adults, you are probably asking yourself, when am I going to find time for play especially in these uncertain economic times?  Another fact is that corporate America is reducing personal and vacation time, so we are obligated to work longer hours with no time off to play at all.   So taking time off is frivolous and irresponsible, right?

Wrong!  Dr. Brown insists that now is the perfect time, in these stressful circumstances, for mature and responsible adults to take the opportunity to toss those pressures aside and liberate your spirit via play.

Ok but what if you have been working so hard and don’t remember how, here are some tips:

  • Start a list of activities you enjoy – at week’s end, look it over, refine and discover those things you’d like to repeat.
  • Develop your sense of humor– make jokes, play around with your friends, family,  and pets alleviates stress
  • Move – Dance, swim, walk, practice a sport you like but without competing with anyone or trying to be the best.  Just enjoy the experience.
  • Explore – Investigate new ways of thinking and feeling.  Take classes.  Try a new hobby.  Discover your world.
  • Organize – If you like organizing events, plan a party or reunion.  Scope out your next vacation.  But, don’t try to be a perfectionist, enjoy what you are doing. 
  • Collect –  Be it Superman comics, stamps, Victorian dolls, or classical music records, start a collection just for your pleasure, don’t think about how much you are going to get for it at Antiques Roadshow.
  • Use your imagination – Read, go to the movies, daydream, write stories, solve puzzles
  • Socialize – Play board games, charades, join a book club, soccer club, or just go out to dinner with your friends, it helps to strengthen emotional ties and reduce stress.
  • Create art – Redecorate your home. Paint. Design a dress.  Enroll in a ceramics class.

The most important thing, says Dr. Brown, is the attitude that you have when doing any of these activities.  When you play without pressure and letting your imagination roam, we heal and our spirits lift with much needed happiness.  So get out there and play!



Posted August 17, 2009 by Tranquil Oasis in Self Care, stress relief, Uncategorized

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