As we age and integrate into the world with responsibilities in order to survive, it's natural that we tend to lose our childlike qualities of playfulness. However, play is not just essential for kids; it is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well. Adult play is time to forget about work and commitments, and to be social in an unstructured and creative way. It's about enjoying the actual experience without accomplishing any goal -- it is to live in the present moment with enthusiasm. When we are living in the present moment we are more aligned with ourselves, others and the flow of our life. A sense of pleasure, ease and lightheartedness takes over and we receive benefits from physical, mental and emotional states of joy and fulfillment. Stress levels are lowered, brain function, productivity and creativity are improved, and we feel an overall sense of vitality!
As adults we often neglect our own needs for healthy play or push it to the end of the to-do list. We neglect our inner child that we actually forget what it's like to just let go and be silly, or wild, or spontaneous. Inviting more of these qualities into our life are not only important for our entire well-being but for those around us.
Here are my favorite ways to incorporate more play into your life:
1. Shake your booty, daily: create a playlist with your favorite dance songs and dance as if it were the last time you could move...do this anytime you need a boost throughout the day!
2. Host a regular game night with friends or family: bring healthy snacks and drinks, turn off your cell phones, and put on a great playlist!
3. Go on an adventure: step out of your comfort zone by checking out a nearby city, camping in nature or treating yourself to a mindful holiday such as a yoga retreat!
4. Get creative: invest in art supplies (or go on a scavenger hunt in nature) and let your inner artist and imagination take over.
5. Physical movement: grab a group of friends and a frisbee/soccer/football for the park and start playing! Interacting with other adults in ways that are purely for pleasure is a source of nourishment and builds community.
6. Spend time with kids: watch and learn from the masters! Try to forget your age or 'what you know' and let yourself be silly, candid and one of their peers.
Bonus! Smile as often as you can: smiling releases feel good endorphins to the brain and body that lower stress levels, boost immunity and increase happiness. Plus smiling is contagious -- try it out when you walk down the street!
LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here