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Let’s see, what do we know about play?

Well,until recently we all thought that play is something reserved for children. We thought that play is a frivolous activity;that it doesn’t really serve any purpose and is just something children do to amuse themselves.

Well,we need to think again.Latest research (and it’s a large body of research), and even older research, suggests that play is much more than just a fun activity.We now know that play is leading-edge technology. Play is the essence of healing.It is nature’s secret way to take care of us; it provides a means of development for children and it is the sign of emotional well-being in adults.

Play has been with us since the beginning of time but we failed to see it’s importance and displaced it from our lives in favour of activities that are goal-oriented. Culture used to provide us with many opportunities for play but it’s now rapidly suffocating that space where we could come out and play.We are supposed to work more,to be better, to know more, to do more. Screen time and 24 hours access to information keep the brain in a state of fire-and-wire for much more than it was designed to.We can only digest 2%of the information we get exposed to anyway, the rest is tuned out because it’s too much.The brain needs rest also and that’s why the brain loves play.

Emotional well-being is a byproduct of play. During our daily life we experience emotions of frustration,alarm and disappointed about things we can not change(invariably people will die and some things won’t go our way); that’s just normal and healthy. And actually emotions don’t rest when we sleep,like the body does. In our dreams we are emotionally engaged and working on integrating different aspects of our daily life.So what do we do with them? If we suppress emotions we create depression.Suppression of expression creates depression,and emotions always seek expression.This is why nature put play in place. Studies have shown that brain activity during play is exactly opposite to brain activity in a state of depression.Play is a safe space, where what we do and how we perform doesn’t matter; it’s a place of relaxation,release, expression.This is a perfect setting for our not-so-fun emotions to get expressed in a safe way.Here they can come out and be released without hurting anyone.Our emotional apparatus finds its rest and regulation here.

All mammals play.The more intelligent the animal the more they play(dolphins and monkey spend a good amount of time playing) and if you deprive them of play they get in a sleep-deprivation like state where they start hallucinating and lose brain functions.And have you ever seen a sick animal playing?

Children learn through play and express everything that’s troubling them in their play.Nature ment to get them ready for adult life this way.It is therefore essential to preserve as much time as possible for nature to do it’s job with children.Anything that’s goal-oriented is not true play. (That’s why video, computer and all educational games don’t count as play ).

It is equally important for adults to play as it is for children,so we need to be mindful of this and insert play into our life.Just make time for it and know that you are not wasting your time.What’s your kind of play? Do you enjoy singing,dancing, cooking, gardening..? Anything you do that’s not centerd around achieving something, it’s engaging and you enjoy it counts as play.

May you be invested in your play and get inspired on your way!

May you play with the passion of the flame and trust nature to show the way!