Player: One who plays. Shouldn’t everyone be a player? There has been much written about the benefit of play for children but what about adults? Is there some unwritten rule that once we cross that threshold between child and adult we must be serious, mature, and responsible? Why is it that work, family, and other commitments take priority? And why is it that when we tend to have leisure time, we zone out in front of the television or computer? When was the last time you gave into a silly whim? Jumped in a puddle. Rolled around in the grass with your dog. Played a board game. Thrown a Frisbee or played Ping Pong. I give you permission to find some time this week to just have pure fun, with no goal or purpose. It is not a waste of time and here is why:

Play helps build healthy, intimate relationships. Too often, we are worried about what others may think of us. Being silly and fun helps build trust, closeness, and intimacy in relationships. It helps us learn to work together, interact positively, and collaborate. Play brings joy to our relationships with our family, friends, and co-workers.

Play enhances productivity and creativity. Play allows us to step back and stop self-monitoring, which fosters innovation and problem solving. It engages the creative side of our brain. Play helps us work smarter, not harder, by increasing energy and preventing burnout.

Play is good for mental health. Laughter really is the best medicine. Play relieves stress and fosters a positive and optimistic outlook. Through play, our brain releases endorphins, that “feel good” body chemical. It decreases pain, boosts immunity, and helps us to feel young.

What’s not to love about that? So go ahead and reclaim your inner child.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw