Aunty was never much into playing. I remember being around ten years of age, lining all my dolls up and lecturing them as if in a classroom. I would call the roll to make sure there were no slackers then proceed to teach them Mathematics and English. Once the dolls had learned all they were capable of, I would crochet and sew clothes for them. I didn’t play team sports as was never any good at all. I did like Monopoly but, after a few sessions of my playmates becoming furious with me and my ruthless enforcement of all rules, them upending the board and storming out, my dad banned me from that particular past time. I was committed to study, reading, swimming and exercise as a teenager so fell firmly into the ‘geek’ category. Not much time for any play.
My parents were the opposite and remain so to this day. They love to play. They take my niece and nephew to the playground so they can enjoy the slides and swings. They have played a game of Sunday tennis with the same couple for over 30 years. My dad is fiend on the court – he has to win. My adult children just know my parents are so cool because they will play badminton, darts and all manner of card games with them. Playing is cool and we should commit right now to doing much more of it.
So why should we play more? It is said that, ‘laughter lifts us is by increasing our overall well-being and boosting our mental health’. It is credited with reducing stress and anxiety. If we can see the funny in everyday life, laugh at our mistakes where possible, perhaps we will ease the pressures put on our mind and body.
And how to learn to play? The best way is to experiment and find something you like to do. I visited a playground and descended the hill on a flying fox, kicking and screaming for the whole way down. But gosh, it was fun. I haven’t felt that alive for a while. Loved it! It’s great to watch and play with children. We can watch them, talk with them as they teach us how to play again. It has been wonderful to be allowed to take my grandbaby to the park. Her imagination and zest for life was infectious as we sat in the wooden train and travelled all over the world. We can seek out playful people, join up for a sport, read comic books or watch comedy on television or at a Comedy Club. We could tease a friend or loved one gently but never be nasty. Watching animals offers another source of wonder and fun so visit a zoo or wildlife park. I’m sure you see or hear something to make you laugh. You could even keep a small toy or charm with you at all times to remind you to play. Let’s not take life and ourselves too seriously.
Peterson, T. (2014, December 25). Laughter Can Chase Away Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/12/laughter-can-chase-away-anxiety