behavior · brain · creativity · happiness · health · mental health · play

6 Tips to Stay Playful Your Entire Life

Stella meets a friend on the trail.
A good way to stay playful: be open to new creatures and experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Friday! Lately on Fridays I’ve been sharing my next great adventure destination, but this weekend that destination is staying put! And boy am I gonna have fun doing it! 🙂

For those of you who are also staying home this weekend and don’t know what to do about it, or maybe you had a loooooong week and you know you need to inject some fun into your day but your brain is so fried you can barely talk or type straight, here are some great suggestions from Remembering to Play. In fact, they recommend these tips for living an overall playful life, not just a playful day or two (although that is certainly a good start):

1. Play with movement:  Children have a wider range of body expression than adults.  We tend to move our bodies in the same, often rigid and predictable way. When walking down the street try moving your body differently. Start in small ways. Swing your hands in a different way, bounce your head from side to side, or shift your shoulders back and forth, one at a time. After a while try something bigger. Zig zag or walk backwards or sideways, or skip over the lines on the sidewalk. Or while walking in your office hallway twirl around one time…or perhaps more than once, tap the walls, or strut like you just made a million dollars for your organization!  Walk like you are the bees knees…because you are!
2. Play with perspective:  Instead of always looking straight ahead, or in your usual direction, look up or down, and in a direction you would not normally point your eyes. You may notice something different that you have never seen before.  A bird, a lovely coloured leaf, a funny looking cloud, a happy couple cuddling. It is easy, especially in big cities, to point our nose to ground and plow forward. Let’s remember that life is not about getting there but rather enjoying the ride. As you point your eyes in new directions, you never know what you might see, and what may come about from this new perspective.
3. Play with words/conversation: Whether it is, How’s it going, How was your day, or our conventional ways of starting a Monday morning meeting, we have many verbal or conversational routines.  It takes awareness and creativity to inject something new and fresh into the mix. For instance, instead of saying Hello to your friend, you could say Hey Hey, what do you say!?  Instead of calling your friend by their name, give them an unexpected nickname. Call them Sunshine or Peaches. (For over three years, a friend and I have consistently called each other Steve. It still brings us and others a good chuckle!) Or start your meeting off by having everyone share the last time they had a really good laugh. Read Creative Connections for more ideas.
4. Play with your surroundings:  What you surround yourself with either feeds or depletes your creative, authentic Self.  How often do you watch the news? Is the TV blaring in the background? What books do you read?  Do they inspire you?  What colour are your walls and what pictures do you hang from them. What music do you listen to?  Could you play more music in the background, say when cooking dinner or cleaning your home?  Do you have plants, or earth coloured tones in your home? Who do you spend your time with? Do your friends support your playful, authentic Self?  Can they hold space for the fullness of You?  Part of living a playful life is creating the container for playful living, and this means being clear on what supports or does not support authentic living.
5. Play with diverse activities:  As creatures of habit, it is easy to always order the same food, buy the same groceries, visit the same theatre and run the same route. Play means looking up when we normally look down, turning left when right is our regular choice. As we expand our range of choices and travel down new paths, we improve our brain functioning by building new neural pathways, and open to new possibilities. So instead of always seeing a movie, go to a live show instead. Instead of always eating the same meals, try to make one new meal a week.  Join a class, take a spontaneous road trip, visit a local museum, volunteer your time for a good cause, talk to a homeless person, pay for your friend’s meal, stop to smell a flower, play with a dog that is waiting for its owner, organize a games night, or start a book club. Do one thing different and you never know who you might meet or what adventure may unfold!

6. Play with your smile:  A single smile can change someone’s day for the better. I have experienced this when feeling a bit down, someone offers me a warm smile and suddenly I can feel my heart again. Life is not so bad anymore. In the same way that a picture is worth a thousand words, so too is a smile. So share your smile freely and fully. And share your smile with You as well. When feeling down, close your eyes and imagine a soft, warm, loving smile slowly appearing inside you. Allow it to get brighter, filling you with joy and light. Let your inner, playful spirit smile at you from the inside.

Read the original article.

Have a play-filled day! It will help you be more productive at work overall.