What comes to mind when you hear the word “play” or think of “playing”? It’s pretty normal to think it’s something only kids do, it’s slacking, it’s a distraction, it’s unproductive, it’s immature, or it’s a waste of time, as this is what society teaches us. Do you want to hear a secret? That’s a lie! Play is an essential part of a blissful life. Dr. Stuart Brown says: “The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.” Let this truth really sink in: The opposite of play is NOT work, it’s DEPRESSION. I’d go so far as to say: I think if we made play both something we frequently set aside time to do AND a way of life, it’d revolutionize our lives in the most incredible ways.”
Consider conflict and places of relational tension; psychologist and author Dan Allender frequently notes how a playful approach will transform people’s lives. For instance, I’m a bit OCD and my wife Lisa is a bit messy. While this could easily be a recipe for disaster, it isn’t, because, as best as she can, Lisa chooses to engage me and my stress over messes playfully, with a smile, a hug, a well timed jest or chuckle, and so on. By playing with each other in areas of conflict, we both avoid fighting and move closer toward each other in joyful ways.
This approach applies to most aspects of life. Aren’t we happier when we take ourselves less seriously and more freely? With all this in mind, today I invite you to practice living more playfully. Both set aside moments and periods to party like a child, AND approach work, relationships, cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, making the bed, yoga, hard conversations, and so on with a playful mentality. I truly believe: Playing everyday will keep the doctor away.
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Grace and peace,