Reap the Benefits of Playing, at Any Age!

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Reap the Benefits of Playing, at Any Age!

Posted on May 16, 2012

Relationships between younger people and the elderly have proven to be beneficial in young people’s lives by assisting them in shaping their values, motivating their goals, influencing their life choices, and helping promote a sense of identity and roots. But are the youngsters impacting the elderly as well? They sure have the ability too. How you ask? Through playing!

Playing can be extremely beneficial and the most wonderful thing about it is that everyone is good at it! It allows time in your life for you to feel good about yourself and about those around you. Some of the most memorable times in our lives are the times we found joy and fun through playing, so at whatever age, don’t forget to play so that you too can reap great memories and some of these benefits:

  • Play can inspire you to think differently

Yes, play can be inspirational. Playing doesn’t always mean getting wild and crazy and breaking the rules, but it can make light of difficult situations allowing your mind to see things is a different perspective. Walt Disney was dedicated to play and his wild, ageless energy has impacted numerous generations and changed the world through children’s entertainment. He never allowed his imagination to be tainted by the criticisms of this world. The next time you are feeling down about a life situation or circumstance, try sharing child like jokes with friends, watching a children’s movie, pulling out a box of crayons or even try playing with some modeling clay to encourage your inner child to be exposed and assist you in letting loose and breaking free. The shift in your way of thinking and the renewing of your mind caused by stepping back into the world of discovery is guaranteed to be astounding.

  • Playing can bring greater joy into your life

Playing can enhance joy and bring more laughter into your life. According to the Senior Housing Connection, laughter can offer numerous health benefits and promote general wellbeing such as improving sleep quality, reducing aches and pains for up to 45 minutes, reduces stress, improve function of blood vessels, create deeper bonds between individuals to name just a few.

  • Play can stimulate the imagination, curiosity, and creativity

Research shows that play is a hands-on, mind-on learning process. Playing is guaranteed to stimulate ones imagination and develop creativity to explore things through a higher level of enthusiasm based on curiosity and joy. Think about how often we find ourselves creatively folding little pieces of paper we find, doodling while talking on the phone, or even gazing up at the sky and looking for hidden images in the clouds. Sometimes playing within subtle moments such as these can ignite curiosity and spark a sense of joy within ones spirit.

  • Play can greatly enhance your energy levels

Life can be hard and full of factors that can cause us to feel overworked, stressed, and burnt out. Our body’s natural response to these feelings can cause extreme physical and mental exhaustion. Therefore we must find an outlet for recovery. Quick energy fixes such as eating foods that contain sugar, or drinking beverages that include high amounts of caffeine such as soda or coffee, are great for sudden boosts of energy however the side effects of these stimulants are usually temporary and can leave you feeling worse once the initial effect has worn off. Doing things that promote well being such as spending time with a loved one, watching children play, or listening to music with an up-beat tempo can promote a playful attitude and joy that can last throughout the day without leaving you with an “energy crash” feeling afterwards.

  • Play can provide you with an opportunity to take risks

When is that last time you watched a determined baby attempt to take their first steps? They seem to have no concept of restrictions and they always seem to be focused on the limitless possibilities of moving by getting up and trying again without even questioning the risks involved! When a child has their mind focused on doing something their energy and determination to accomplish that task often times ends up consuming their mind until the mission is complete. As adults we become their cheerleaders, surrounding them with encouraging words, and creating a positive playful atmosphere, as they struggle to reach their goal. We can learn so much by observing the messages of determined children. Next time you are striving to attempt something new be sure to renew your mind into that of a child’s and turn any trying task into one of joy inspired, risk taking determination for completion of your mission.

Remember, “We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
~ Joseph Lee