Play is something that many people believe is a childhood pastime, but given the many benefits of playing, it’s something you should embrace as often as possible as an adult. Kirsten Miliken in Playdhd explains why we stop playing: “As adults we believe we have to be taken seriously to be successful. But research shows that, like kids, adults benefit enormously from playing – in all aspects of their lives and relationships.”
Lloyd P. Rieber suggests “the word “play” can invoke so many misconceptions” and “There is also a sense of risk attached to suggesting an adult is at play. Work is respectable, play is not.” Other misconceptions he describes include that play is easy and that playing doesn’t contribute towards learning.
But life doesn’t need to be serious all the time and making art is just one of the ways you can play more regularly. Miliken writes “By definition, play is ‘purposely, all-consuming, and fun.’ Research with both humans and animals also demonstrates that play is a biological drive as crucial to our health as sleep or nutrition. Play is critical to healthy physical, mental, social, and psychological development.” She talks of research in the field showing the following benefits of play:
- Builds ability to solve problems, negotiate rules, and resolve conflicts
- Develops confidence, flexible minds that are open to new possibilities
- Develops creativity, resilience, independence, and leadership
- Reduces stress
- Helps grown strong, healthy bodies
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits. The bottom line is that play can add a lot of joy and meaning to your life, if you allow yourself permission to spend time playing and making your own art is a wonderful way to get started.
“Playfulness can help us do our jobs better and find more innovative solutions to problems. Play can help us be more adaptive, collaborative, spontaneous, and joyful.” — Kirsten Miliken