Holy Sunbeams, it’s been hot! For some of us, Summer is in full swing, and for others, its winding down. Can you believe school starts for some in the next three weeks? Have you checked all your boxes for summer? Was play on your To Do list? I hope so. This week’s MM Challenge (Mindfulness Moment) is to be mindful of play. The good news is, no matter what season we are in, we always have time to play.
Mindfulness and play? Being mindful of play sounds too easy, doesn’t it? We all know HOW to play, but do we DO it? Play takes effort, and the action of play, has plenty of benefits.
Disclaimer: The type of play I am suggesting, does not include, playing games on a device or game console. Nor does it include shopping online. I realize these things may bring a person joy, and can serve a purpose. However, in the context of play for movement, I believe they are “numbing out” activities.
Numbing out activities are the activities we participate in for the sole purpose of not participating in life. Being mindful means being present. We are present by engaging with and participating in our lives.
And, if Jack Nicholson, taught us anything, “All work and no play, makes Jack a very dull boy.”
What’s in it for me? Mindfulness and play:
- Play engages our mind and body simultaneously. Once engaged we experience the give and take of joy and effort. Simply throwing a frisbee in the yard can be a stress reliever. Unless you’re me, and then it causes stress, but anyway. Participating in playful activities lowers inhibitions and allows the body to process stress.
- Playing helps build problem solving skills. Strategy and coordination are both beneficial aspects of play.
- Perhaps the most obvious benefit of play is movement. Movement is known to help dissipate the lingering effects of depression and it helps the adrenal glands function properly.
- And my favorite benefit of play is laughter. A merry, joyful heart is medicine for the body. I can’t feel angry or unsatisfied when I’m laughing. Laughter is a superpower and I wield it every chance I get.
- Play gives a sense of completion and accomplishment. Do you remember coming in off the playground, spent and sweaty? Happy that your team won or mad because you lost? Either way, we wanted to get back out there and have another go. That’s what play can still do for us as adults.
This week be mindful of playful moments. Heck, open your calendar right now and plan a playful moment. Putt Putt golf, frisbee, baggo, ping pong or a walk in your neighborhood or park are a few simple examples of play and movement. Get moving and let me know how it goes.
Be you, Be beautiful, Be imperfect