Play is a state of mind - rather than an activity.


We are doing this mini-exam project in school at the moment, and the theme is "Play and Learning".

I am training to get qualifications as an Assistant Nursery Teacher, which is my daytime job. Play is something I'm passionate about, and I'm reading Stuart Brown's book "Play - how it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul".

In this book, Brown says, that play is a state of mind - rather than an activity.

Play is a state of mind.

This is good.

This means we can play at all ages, doing pretty much any activity we enjoy, as long as we are in a playful state of mind.

Don't you find being around playful people adds a lighter energy to your mood? (I know this is a leading question) I do. It affects me if people are heavy, serious all the time, and with no sense of humor.

I cannot tell you how much fun my lovely and amazing group-buddy have had during these 2 weeks of doing this mini-exam project. And we have worked so hard. And we have gone deep. But we have had a playful and light attitude, so much so in fact, that when our teacher came to see if we needed any help, asked if we were on something!

Playfulness and humor is hugely underestimated. It builds relationships, it makes you more attractive as a person to be around, and t's good for your health and brain.  And hey, it's fun.

2 tips to add a playful mindset to your favorite activity

Questions are great to activate your brain.

But the trick is, to ask a small question in a gentle way, repeatedly. And then wait for your subconscious to come up with the answer.

Because it will.

  1. You can ask yourself the question: how can I make this fun?

  2. ....and/or this questions: what is it about this creative pursuit/activity that I love?

If questions aren't your thing, you can try with this affirmation:

It doesn't matter. It's only for fun.

Repeat it often, and feel the energy around what you're doing shift to more lightness.

Some benefits of play

Here are some awesome reasons to play, taken from Brown's book:

  • When we play, we are in our truest expression of our individuality.

  • Play lies at the core of creativity.

  • Play helps sculpt the brain.

  • It's fun!

  • Play creates new neural connections and tests them.

  • It creates an arena for social interaction and learning.

  • Play creates a low-risk format for finding and developing innate skills and talent (This is why I started painting)

...and all this goodness up to page 49 in the book!

You have responsibilities, a to-do list, and perhaps people pulling at you left, right, and center. And that most probably won't stop any time soon. So looking for fun and silly ways to add lightness to your day, is not only more fun, but it's the clever approach :-)