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The 5 Secrets of Playful People

The 5 Secrets of Playful People

Walk through any park on any given day after school, and you will most likely see and hear a bunch of kids running around with abandon, laughing, and having a super time doing what most kids do best – playing.

Unfortunately though, once those rambunctious kids reach a certain age, for most of them, playing will just be a fond memory from their childhood. I have a question for you. Where is it written that adults can’t play? Did you know that there is a significant amount of research that shows us why, as adults, we need to be incorporating play into our daily lives?

The benefits are numerous: Playtime lowers our stress levels, boosts our creativity and problem solving skills, enables us to develop deeper connections with others, and it’s shown to improve our brain activity. If the recent popularity of adult coloring books is anything to go by, I’d say we’re ready to let our inner child let loose and run free.

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Here are 5 tips to bring more play into your life:

1. Schedule playtime

Scheduling sounds like a very grown up thing to do, doesn’t it? But let’s face it, we are all incredibly busy – rushing to get the kids ready in the morning, rushing to work, and then at the end of the workday, rushing home to get dinner ready. In fact, we spend so much time rushing around, we often forget to slow down and enjoy the moment.

A suggestion: schedule a playtime. Treat it as you would your regular yoga lesson or going to the gym. Put a time and day in your calendar and don’t allow yourself off the hook – even if you have a lot of work or are tired! Playtime can be anything you want it to be, from picking up a ball and playing fetch with your dog, or building a Lego car. It doesn’t matter what you do; it’s about the attitude you bring to it.

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2. Bring back family game night

Do you remember times as a kid when you’d sit around the dinner table with your family and play a board game? Why not reintroduce family game night at home? Playtime helps build relationships, strengthen connections, and has the added bonus of teaching the kids how to be ‘good’ losers. Besides, there really is nothing better than sitting around the table and hearing your whole family engaged in conversation and laughter.

3. Take a few toys to work

Our workplaces can be sterile and brain numbing places at times, so why not bring in a few toys? Grab some from home or buy a selection to brighten up your work place. When you find yourself stuck on how to solve a problem, or you’ve had a particularly stressful phone call, give yourself a 5 to 10 minute toy break. I guarantee that if you let loose and totally focus on the joy of playing, you’ll be able to return to what you were doing before with a new perspective.

Recently I’ve taken up juggling: whenever I feel the need to take a break, I stop what I’m doing and juggle. It’s great fun, it automatically gets me to focus on the juggling itself, it’s a great de-stressor, and it’s been shown to help improve memory and creativity.

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4. Dance like nobody’s watching

Next time you’re in the car and a cool tune comes on, crank up the radio and boogie in your seat. Go on – I dare you! Nobody’s watching; and even if they are, they’ll smile when they see you dancing away in your seat. Once you get comfortable with seat dancing, you can expand to busting out a few moves in the office lunchroom or at home after a long day at work. Who knows…you may just start a dance party (plus it’s fantastic exercise)!

5. Organize a play date with friends

Call up one or a few friends and organize a play date. Meet in a central location, pull a coin out of your purse and then explain to everyone that you are leaving your adventure today up to fate. Get someone to call up for heads and down for tails, and then toss the coin to see where you’re going.

Each time a decision has to be made, give yourself two options (for example, do we stop for a coffee or keep walking?) and toss the coin to find your answer. Enjoy the freedom of not knowing in advance where you’re going or what you’ll end up doing.

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The key point to remember is that play is not a luxury but a necessity if you want to live a healthy, creative, and joyful life. Don’t leave playtime just to the kids or your dog. Get out there, embrace that inner child and laugh until you cry!

Featured photo credit: Fotolia via au.fotolia.com

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Fran Sorin

Author, Coach, Speaker

The 5 Secrets of Playful People

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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