The importance of play

Thinking back to my childhood, I see dirty clothes, playing outside, running, climbing trees, creating things (only to destroy them again)... I see a lot of movement and creativity not attached to any goal. That changed in my teens. In a country like Germany people are very focused on productivity, efficiency and outcome. Whatever you do, needs to serve a purpose. Doing doing doing. The glorification of busy. It's always about "getting somewhere". Cultural conditioning - especially the conditioning we receive from our parents - has a strong impact, whether we want it or not. The other day I listened to a podcast titled "play your anxiety away". There is interesting research about the importance of play for mental and physical health out there. I would define 'play' as an activity that is fun, is not attached to a goal, brings you into the present moment, is something you love doing, where you lose track of time. Play is creative and there can't be failure. For me it's essential.

Play decreases stress hormones and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the body's 'rest and digest' response. How can we play as adults? Starting with my favourite: movement, exploring our bodies, dance. Music: singing or playing an instrument. Art, creativity, drawing, painting, cooking... the list is endless. Of course, as a coach, I am all for setting goals and working on achiving them. That's not a bad thing. But, as always, balance is key: so don't forget to play!

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