When was the last time you took time out to ‘play’? Relationship therapist Tamra Mercieca looks at the benefits of returning to our child like state.
Just look at how serious we have become as a society. It’s certainly not surprising given the expectations we put upon ourselves. High pressure jobs with long working hours designed to help us pay for the over-indulgent mortgages we take out in order to feel as though we’re successful. Do these material things really make us feel good? Maybe for a moment or two. But in order to really be successful you need to be happy.
And how do you get happy? You play! The ancients believed we have many different sub-personalities within us. I agree that inside each of us is not only a responsible adult or good parent, but also a fun loving kid, or romantic – some sort of play creature who needs to play dress-ups occasionally.
Play releases both sides of us, gives us a giggle bath, and stops us from taking ourselves and others too seriously. It keeps us young at heart, creative and happy. But often the missing ingredient in a person’s life is play. When was the last time you laughed, for example.
According to a study by German psychologist Michael Titze, in the 1950s people laughed for eighteen minutes a day, but today we laugh no more than six minutes a day. Children can laugh up to four hundred times in a day, but by the time we reach adulthood, that frequency drops to only fifteen times a day.
Wellness in the new millennium is not simply about eating your greens or jogging until you can no longer feel your legs. It is about incorporating fun and play into your life. Good loving, great sex, healthy relationships and a productive work life are all vital components of being well. So live, laugh, play, be happy, and whatever you do, keep smiling.
Ways to play: Get our a hula hoop, watch a sporting game, finger paint, draw, play with play-doh or race friends in the street. Spending time with kids is the perfect way to allow your inner child to shine through.