The Power of Play
The benefits of play are so far-reaching. In childhood, play allows us to learn how to be creative, helps to nurture critical thinking, personality development and creates adaptive neural pathways.
In our stress-inducing lives, play for adults is absolutely essential. Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, as well as boost creativity. According to recent studies, play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex by triggering the release of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.
According to psychiatrist Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, in Carmel Valley, CA, “Play is a basic human need—as essential to our well-being as sleep. So when we are low on play, our minds and bodies notice… Play deprivation can reveal itself in certain patterns of behavior: we might feel cranky, rigid, feel stuck in a rut or feel victimized by life. To benefit most from the rejuvenating benefits of play, we need to incorporate it into our everyday lives.”
A lot of research backs up the theory that play is therapeutic. At work, play speeds up learning, enhances productivity, and increases job satisfaction; at home, playing together enhances bonding and communication.