"While the unexamined life is not worth living, life without laughter is not worth examining." This is a place to lift our spirits, have fun, and illuminate the human condition. We share ideas, observations and opinions about humor, laughter, health & happiness with psychologist Steve Wilson, Director of National Humor Month, founder of the World Laughter Tour.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Make Your Life More Playful
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child
Misce stultitiam consiliis brevem; dulce est desipere in loco. (Mix a
little foolishness with your prudence: it's good to be silly at the right
Don't ever let your mind keep you from having a good time. -Jason Mraz
A sense of playfulness is the best defense against taking yourself too seriously. -Peter Kai Chang
I think entrepreneurship is our natural state -a big adult word that boils down to something much more obvious like playfulness. -Richard Branson
Playfulness is more important than play. According to SteveGross, Executive Director – and Chief Playmaker – of The Life is good
Playmakers, “We all know that it is critical for kids of all ages to play. And
we know that play can take many forms. But there’s a deeper idea about the
importance for kids to learn how to be playful – and how that spirit should
permeate their development.”
The same goes for adults.
One of the surest techniques for being playful is to not
keep score. As soon as you start keeping score or comparing one person’s
performance to another, playfulness goes away and self-esteem is at stake. Stress
and striving start, and unhappiness looms with the prospect of falling short,
losing, or failing.
In 10 Ways to MakeYour Life More Playful, Melissa Kirk, says, “When we lose ourselves in
play, whether creating a make-believe world, throwing a ball between friends,
frolicking with our dog, or watching silly YouTube videos, we allow ourselves
to get out of the linear, problem-solution, adult mindset. We’re activating a
part of our brains that we don’t use much in the grown-up world: the one that
doesn’t care about deadlines or mortgages or how much we weigh, the one that
doesn’t care how we look to others.”
Bernie Dekoven, author of The Well Played Game, observes, "Even
though I rigorously claim that ‘the playful path is the shortest road to
happiness,’ it often happens that we don’t choose to be playful. We could, but
we don’t. Maybe we’re not happy enough. Maybe some perverse part of ourselves
is having more fun being miserable. But even the best of us, even the most
professionally playful of us, forget to be playful. And even though we have the
choice and we know we have the choice, we simply can’t get ourselves to play.
We can’t act playfully, or feel playful or be playful.
"Sure, we can play the same kinds of games we played
when we were children, but experiencing those same games, as adults, weaving
them into the context of what we have since learned and experienced and
dreamed, the games become something else, we become something more. We care for
each other differently. We appreciate each other differently. We play with each
"For many reasons, it can take us years, decades before
we can allow ourselves embrace fun and silliness the way we once did when we
were children. And when we finally make it back, we discover that we are
different, and it is different; and yet it welcomes us, embraces us as
powerfully, as naturally, as meaningfully as it did when we last understood its
place in our lives – more meaningfully, because we are adults, and we must, not
because, but in spite of it all, choose to have fun, to be silly."
Facilitate Play Behavior
three times or periods in your life during each week when you are free from
back to your own childhood and think about the kind of play you enjoyed at that
attention to your dreams and daydreams about play. For one month keep a journal
record of your dreams. Pay attention to the ones that are particularly free,
spontaneous, and joyful.
to spend at least two hours each week watching children play. Do this for one
month. Do you find yourself smiling inside as you watch them? What kinds of
activities are they experiencing?
to play with children during the week. If you have your own children, make a
special effort to play with them ''just for the fun of it.” Did you laugh out
loud during your play with them?
three friends who are most playful and fun to be with. Think about how you
could plan to spend more time with these people.
about the kind of environment or setting that you need for play. Do you need to
be outside your home? Do you need to be wearing special "play"
clothes? Is there a special room in your home where you feel most free and
the bathroom door and look at yourself in the mirror. Try to think serious and
then humorous thoughts. Smile at yourself in the mirror for two minutes.
laughing with a friend. If necessary, have that friend tickle you. Tell each
other jokes. go to a silly movie, Make a tape of yourself laughing and plan to
play it back in privacy when you are feeling most depressed.