Let’s Play

by Lila Lazarus

“You’ll find more happiness growing down than up.” – Anonymous

Being an adult stinks. There’s pressure, stress, bills, constant obligations and a growing list of aches and pains. Going to work every day means putting on work clothes, sitting in the car, sitting in the office or cubicle, being serious, doing so many “important” things and then sitting in traffic on the way home again. So, I’ve made my decision. I’m going to be a kid for the rest of my life. Forget the fact that I’m more than a half-century old, I’m no longer going to act my age. (Actually, if I’m honest, I never have.)

Kids know how to enjoy life. They dance and spin and run and hop. They jump and laugh and play tag. When they’re together, they actually do something that adults (who are too busy staring at their cell phones) could learn from…THEY PLAY! Rather than complaining about the rain, kids jump in the puddles. We could all learn from that. Rather than more work, we should have more fun—whatever we’re doing. Work would be way better if it felt like play. Our problems and challenges would feel better if we thought of them as a game or a puzzle that needs to be solved.

More and more companies are understanding that if we make work feel more like play, employees will stick around. Recently, on a tour of Google’s offices, employees looked like they were enjoying recess. Rather than cubicles and a boring corporate atmosphere, I spotted foosball and exercise classes and lots of free snacks. It’s an atmosphere that fosters comradery, cooperation, teamwork and innovation. That’s the power of play.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your summer, or maybe your whole life, stop stressing and start playing. Don’t worry how you look, focus on how you feel. You know you need to slow down and relax. Childlike fun and a few good belly laughs can do the trick. I actually think doctors should prescribe play to their patients along with good nutrition and eight hours of sleep. Play isn’t just frivolous fun, it’s good for you. A solid hour of real play gets you in shape, reduces your stress level, lowers your blood pressure and boosts your energy levels. Your dopamine starts flowing along with your creativity.

Play should be a part of every day. Recently, while speaking to a large convention of women in technology, I wanted to lighten up the atmosphere and energize the crowd. I asked everyone in the audience to take five pieces of paper and crumple each individual sheet into a ball. I then explained that each piece was their ammunition. When the music started, I yelled, “Snowball fight!” The room of nearly 1,000 women erupted into play and laughter as the paper snowballs soared through the room in every direction. The atmosphere completely changed. The group was suddenly engaged and connected. Play can inspire creativity and productivity. You feel present. It’s exhilarating. So how about a spontaneous snowball fight in the office? Life is just too serious!

And when you’re going through a tough time and the world seems out of control, it becomes even more important to lighten up. Think about it: When you go to hit a tennis ball or swing a golf club, the results are so much better if you loosen your grip. Hold too tight and the results are never what you’re hoping for. Loosen up. The lighter we take things, the happier we’ll be, and the more others will want to be around us. Having fun, taking things lightly and enjoying life more is a good way to be a better parent, friend, spouse, or employee. Everything in life gets easier the more playful we are.

Lila Lazarus Photo_resizedLila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.

 

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