How to stop overthinking and start having fun (again) 

Yellow snacks in a paper cup that reads "Party Time" on a yellow background
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Do you need recess?

Were you ever super fun and then just…not? 

Well, I’ve no-fail, guaranteed way to improve your business, your relationships, your health, and your life. And, it’s free. Cue cheesy music. 

It’s play! 

“But, Shawna, I’m kinda already drowning in everyday sh*t and now you want to make time for playing?!”

Yes, yes I do. Because I like you and you deserve to be happy! 

If you’re intrigued on how to get more play in your life, this week I’m talking with TED Talk speaker and Improvisational Facilitator Gary Ware. He’s worked with large companies like Google and played with thousands of people. He has a 99.9% success rate and shares how playing makes it safe for people at work to share ideas and creates connections. Plus it creates endorphins, lowers blood pressure and cortisol.  

Play is how we learned the world around us. In the book The Gardener and the Carpenter, Alison Gopnik tells a story about handing a multi-faceted toy to a child and having an adult tell them how just one feature works. The result? The child only uses that one feature. To another group, the adult hands the toy over with no information and the child figures out, through play, all of it’s uses and invents more along the way. 

Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. 

But a while ago we started thinking about play as only for kids and had to make room for things like careers, relationships, and families. #adulting

How about we start using the “Yes, and…” model of improv to include play into our everyday lives? 

If you want to think quicker, feel vibrant, connected and be an overall awesome leader, then swap out 5 min of high-performance tasks, to-do lists, and mandatory mediation for just 5 min of play. 

 

Play for adults is critical in our stressful go-go-go lives. Some more benefits: 

  • Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity. And it can even help to keep us young and feeling energetic. 
    • Studies show that play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex. 
  • Play has also been shown to trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.

 

One of the things that may often stop us from playing is that we, as adults, get very set on who we are and the types of activities that we do and do not like. But play is healthy and fun, so it benefits us to figuratively—or literally—roll the dice and allow playback into our lives.

Why should kids have all the fun? Next time I get invited for coffee, I’m going to schedule it as a play-date! 

Was this helpful to you? Tell me! Say hello and tell me your key take-away. 

Until next time, be well,
Shawna 

PS: There are several observed types of play: which are you going to do today?