keeps the mind clear
PREVIOUS: Adults – the NEED for Play
BOOK: “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination & Invigorates the Soul.” Brown, S. (2009)
QUOTE: “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw
ADULT BENEFITS of PLAY
Playing is not only as an activity but also a state of mind or mind-set, which makes life enjoyable, whether we’re participating or just watching. It is a form of release, can tap our creativity & allows us to connect with our healthy Inner Child along with the IC of others.
According to the National Institute, it is the gateway to vitality, & its benefits are indicators of personal health, SO shortages of the following play by-products predicts possible health problems & emotional fragility.
Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins tells us that our ancestors dedicated a lot more energy to play. Communities of hunter-gatherers spent around four hours a day on work. The remainder was dedicated to playing and games.
Women’s lifestyle expert and author Jennifer Louden says:
“It’s a wild concept, but I see this trend (play) as a way for women and men to establish mental balance, & embrace a healthy form of comfort”
A doorway to learning – a hands-on, minds-on learning process. The components of play – curiosity, discovery, games, novelty, pretense, risk-taking, trial and error, social etiquette, & other increasingly complex adaptive activities – are the same as the elements of learning.
Play teaches perseverance & makes it fun – the rewards for learning or mastering a new game shows us that it’s worth sticking to something – a necessary trait for healthy adulthood. >> Perseverance & violence are rarely found together
Inspires to Think Differently – Walt Disney was dedicated to play, & his willingness to buck conventional wisdom changed the world of entertainment. He didn’t let the world’s criticism get in the way of his child-like imagination.
An Apple Computers ad: “Here’s To The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO !”
We are always creating our experiences and our lives, so why not have some fun and develop a thirst for curiosity, like Leonardo DaVinci. The renewed sense of imagination could be endless!
Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s & Dementia – According to the New England Journal of Medicine & Mental Health Canada (MHC) – challenging your mind with mentally stimulating leisure activities (board games, cards, crossword puzzles, reading, playing musical instruments, writing….) is great for your brain’s health.
Apparently these activities trigger chemical stimulation, resulting in an increase of cognitive reserves (ability to learn), and possibly the ability to deal with or compensate for physical changes linked with dementia. Play takes the mind off stressors, giving the body a chance to restore itself.
Seniors who participated in such activities about once a week for a 20-year period reduced the risk of dementia by 7 percent. Those engaged in these activities often reduced their risk even more — by 63%!
Reduces Stress & Enhances Energy Levels – Dr. Blair Justice, Psych professor at U. of Texas School of Public Health says: “Playtime is also essential to help adults relieve stress. You don’t have time to make yourself sick”. Too much stress leads to increases in chemicals such as cortisol and nor-epinephrine, which disrupt the immune system, can cause heart disease & makes us to feel edgy and hostile.
• Body Movement is what we most often associate with play, both for children & adults. We use our pastime for :
— exercise, which is great for heart health, reducing hypertension and cholesterol, improving neurological and spinal problems, burning off stress-related hormones, sugars & fats released into the bloodstream, while stimulating endorphins, and improves sleep
— stress-relieving activities like sports. Whenever we jump on or over stuff, play football, dance, run…. we receive the pure pleasure of feeling our bodies move and work. Dr. Stewart Brown defines it as “the spontaneous desire to get ourselves out of gravity”
— entertainment, which also soothes tensions. According to an online survey by RealNetworks, Inc., a ‘casual games’ developer, playing board, card, word…games are an excellent way to relax. It found:
75% of responding parents see educational benefits for their kids
64% play games as a way to unwind and relax
53% play for stress relief
42% believe game play is a way to keep their mind sharp
Less stress + more play (in appropriate proportion) increases longevity.
NEXT: Benefits of Play (Part 2)