Play: a key to happiness
"When you're engaged in activities of "personal expressiveness," ones that are self-chosen and that reflect intrinsic goals, you're operating from the "true self," says Alan Waterman of the College of New Jersey.
When you're stressed, the brain's activated emotional hub, the amygdala, suppresses positive mood, fueling a self-perpetuating cycle of negativity. Play can break you out of that straitjacket. It also cut through stagnation at the office. Studies show that playfulness can increase performance on the job and stoke creativity by breaking up the mental set that keeps us stuck. It resets the brain.
This tonic we write off as trivial is a crucial engine of well-being. In its low-key, humble way, play yanks grownups out of their purposeful sleepwalk to reveal the animating spirit within. You are alive, and play will prove it to you."
Joe Robinson, author of Work to Live.
February can feel hard in the northern hemisphere. Frequent cold rain, snow, and a lack of sunshine can impact our moods and our productivity. Many studies show that play is an excellent way to counteract the doldrums and 'reset' your brain. Choosing an activity for the fun of it, that gives opportunity to be totally present and involved, is likely to boost your mood, creativity and production. You can read more about that in Joe Robinson's article here.
In preparation to write this blog post, I spent time researching playfulness and fun for adults. I was surprised at how difficult it was to locate good, solid information on the topic. Our culture has lots to say about play for children, but much less to say about grown-ups playing tag or smearing paint around and 'messing up a canvas' just because.
As adults we feel that taking time to play will keep us from doing the important things. In reality, choosing fun may make all the rest easier. If you spend time doing something for the sole purpose of the enjoyment of the process you will be doing yourself, and the people around you, a favor.
Find something fun to do this February. We
have new workshops planned that will give you the chance to 'mess up' a few canvases.
Add some color to the winter.