Play: Fun Ways to Relieve Stress

One of the fun ways to relieve stress is through play. Play is often ignored as we get older. Children seem to be able to turn anything into a game, but adults seem to have a harder time with this.

A really good resource on this is the book "Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul" by Stuart Brown. He says that when people reach their 60s, it is often a time when people can go one of two ways. Some people continue on playing to some degree, but others can really start to go downhill.

Play is actually an essential tool that many animals use. He gives an example of a starved polar bear that enters the camp of some people up north. The people's dog outside would be a very good meal for this bear, but something different happens.

The bear approaches this dog in a playful mood. The dog responds back in a playful mood too. They end up playing for hours and the bear leaves no less hungry than he was before. It comes back for many more nights to play with this dog. Eventually they never see the bear again.

What would cause this bear to play with its food like this when it was so hungry? Is the bond and connection that play reinforces in some animals so strong that they will go hungry to get it? How different are we from these animals?

Click here to look at "Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul" By Stuart Brown on Amazon.

How do we play? How do we find fun ways to relieve stress? I think staying in the moment is a big factor in how playful we are. If we are worrying about other things, we can miss out on the good things happening around us. Why do many of us stop playing? Bills to pay. Children to feed. Jobs to do. People to see, places to go.

By simply enjoying the moment as it passes by us every day, we can stop and relish each one. Seeing the humor in situations. Creating humor where there is none.

As I mention in the section called "Get More Humor Into Your Life" on this website under the "Stress" tab, chronic seriousness is estimated to affect as much as 80% or so of the population. People become serious all the time, playing very little, laughing very little. Many people have lost their laugh.

Psychologists have an informal name for some people. They call them "Type H" personalities: hurried, hostile and humorless.

Stress can cause us to "temporarily" forgo play for more serious endeavours. "I'll work hard for a few evenings/weeks/months to do this work; then I'll have fun," we say. Sometimes "temporary" can become permanent.

Try not to fall into this trap. If you're already under it, do your best to get out of it. Prolonged stress isn't good for the body. Many adverse conditions can develop. you don't want that. You may think you can handle stress for a long period of time. Too often, however, we pay the price down the road.

By keeping a playful attitude, we can keep many illnesses at bay.

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