Why being playful can help us lead happier lives
Many people struggle with feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed. These feelings can be challenging to manage, but one technique that I often suggest is to incorporate more playfulness into their lives.
Playfulness is an important aspect of mental health that is often overlooked. It can be defined as engaging in activities for the sake of enjoyment and pleasure, rather than for a specific outcome or goal. When we engage in playful activities, we activate different parts of our brain and release feel-good chemicals like dopamine and endorphins, which can help us feel more relaxed, energized, and happy.
Here are some tips for how you can incorporate more playfulness into your life:
- Experiment with New Activities
One way to add more playfulness into your life is to experiment with new activities. Try something you’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s learning a new skill like painting or playing an instrument, or trying a new sport or game. This can help you break out of your routine and engage with the world in a new way.
- Find Joy in the Mundane
Another way to cultivate playfulness is to find joy in the mundane. This means approaching everyday tasks with a playful mindset, such as adding some music to your cleaning routine or trying a new recipe when cooking dinner. By infusing a sense of playfulness into these tasks, you can turn them into opportunities for pleasure and enjoyment.
- Prioritize Social Connections
Playfulness is often most effective when it’s shared with others. Prioritize social connections and make time for playful activities with friends and family. This could include anything from playing a board game to taking a dance class together. Engaging in these activities with others can help strengthen your relationships and create shared memories that can boost your mood.
- Embrace Your Inner Child
As we get older, we often lose touch with our playful side. Embracing your inner child means reconnecting with the things you enjoyed as a child, whether it’s playing with toys or exploring nature. This can help you tap into a sense of wonder and creativity that can be rejuvenating and uplifting.
- Let Go of Perfectionism
One of the biggest barriers to playfulness is the pressure we put on ourselves to perform or succeed. To cultivate a more playful mindset, it’s important to let go of perfectionism and embrace the process of experimentation and exploration. This means giving yourself permission to make mistakes, try new things, and enjoy the journey rather than focusing solely on the end result.
Incorporating playfulness into your life can have numerous benefits for your mental health and well-being. By engaging in activities for the sake of pleasure and enjoyment, you can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and cultivate a greater sense of creativity and spontaneity. As a psychotherapist, I often encourage my clients to experiment with playfulness as a way to enhance their mental health and overall quality of life.