Want to Know the Trick To Staying Young at Heart?
Joe always jokes that the only person who loves to play with toys more than the kids is me. You’ll often find me totally engrossed in building out a BRIO train set or building elaborate towers of blocks with my kids. It’s my favorite way to bond with them, but I hadn’t realized the benefits of play extended beyond strengthening my relationship with them. It turns out, research shows it can also be a good activity to not only reduce stress but contribute to overall well being.
Washington Post writer Jennifer Wallace explains our need for play is part of our ancestral DNA. She writes:
“Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College, says, “Play primarily evolved to teach children all kinds of skills, and its extension into adulthood may have helped to build cooperation and sharing among hunter-gathers beyond the level that would naturally exist in a dominance-seeking species.” In other words, for our earliest ancestors, play wasn’t just about adding fun to their lives, it may have been a way of keeping the peace, which was critical for survival.”
I’ve found my love for play manifests itself in other ways as well. I like to learn how things work for the sake of just knowing. The act of learning and continuing to try new things has its benefits, too. This type of play also helps our brains stay sharp. All Things Considered covered the benefits of play, which don’t always include your typical adult coloring books or Suduko.
” ‘My dad, his hobby was calculus,’ says Jane Alexander Perry. This is her first visit to the SF Games group, and she’s here to bring ideas back to her own gaming group, which meets once a month to play a version of Scrabble. ‘He would show me different puzzles to do with different numbers and cards, and I grew up that way and I love it.’ – via NPR
Play also reminds us to not take ourselves so seriously, which is incredibly helpful in keeping our egos– the cause of most of our limited thinking and negative thinking, in check. Silliness comes from our inner child and allows us to take a break from looking at the world through the lens of survival. To just be in the moment and find not just peace, but giggle-inducing joy… that’s how we stay young at heart.
I put together a round up of products that might spark the desire to play. Perhaps the wind running through your hair as you swing through the air reconnects you with a more carefree version of yourself that could use a little attention. Maybe that version of yourself thinks you should relax and get out a little bit more!
Whatever your favorite form of play looks like, we hope you will consider sharing ways play has benefited your life. We’re all ears!
There’s nothing more youthful than a long afternoon spent in the good ol’ outdoors. Joe and I love having picnics with the kids on a nice summer day, so I might need to snag one of the Leather-Handled Picnic Baskets for myself!
I’ve recently been learning how to play the Ukelele, a new pastime of mine that allows me to disconnect and recharge. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn a new skill!
There’s no age-limit on arts and crafts! Unlock your creative juices with a beautiful coloring book or Big Idea Sketchbook You might be surprised by how much fun simple activities like coloring and drawing can be!
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