Do you remember being a kid and wanting to be a grown-up? Did you think this was what you were in for?
If you’re like many American’s you’re overworked, anxious and maybe even depressed.
Weekends give most of us the chance to downshift and recharge. But we don’t treat them as sacred. Downtime almost always gets pushed aside to catch up or get ahead on our work instead.
You’re exhausted. But you’re not happy. Not really happy.
When did being happy become second to being productive?
It can be especially difficult for those with ADHD because you’re constantly feeling like your behind and aren’t as productive as you or others want you to be.
PLAY may be the cure to, low productivity, unhappy relationships, boredom and depression.
We Need to Play
If you give yourself permission, meaning stop listening to everyone else and what they think you should be doing, “playing” is great for the brain. In some cases, playing comes more naturally to the ADHD brain than others.
When researching people who demonstrated deep joy and life satisfaction, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreBrené Brown found they “fool around a lot.” In other words, happy people play.
As a society, we need to reframe play. In her book Playdhd: Permission to Play…..a Prescription for Adults With ADHD.PlayDHD, Kirsten Miliken says, “We are told we have to get our work done. “Work first, then play,” we’re told, unless the play is educational or productive. The underlying message is that play for the sake of fun is a waste of time, because every moment spent playing is a lost opportunity to get ahead in life.”
But play actually helps us. It’s rejuvenating and stimulates our creativity. “Play nurtures a supple mind, a willingness to think in new categories, and an ability to make unexpected associations,” says The FUTURE AND ITS ENEMIES: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and ProgressVirginia Postural. “The spirit of play not only encourages problem solving but, through novel analogies, fosters originality and clarity.”
As humans we are wired to play and not just because it is fun. Play helps get and keep our mind and body healthy. It improves our social skills, resilience and adaptability. Play prevents us from feeling depressed, lonely, and bored.
“Nothing lights up the brain like play,” says researcher Stuart Brown, and it’s worth watching his TED Talk on the topic.
There’s an added bonus for those with ADHD. Play activates the dopamine in our brain, naturally minimizing the intensity of ADHD symptoms, and makes everything fun and easier. Even work is easier.
When things are easier we replace pure exhaustion with a renewed energy and outlook on life.
Play. Yes. Play.
Like you did when you were a kid.
Funny isn’t it? You’re reading this and thinking you have no idea how to even to start to play. Connect to the child within and use these tips to get you started.
Healthy play means:
- No electronics, no social media, no video games.
- It cannot be productive in anyway. (except for all those benefits above.)
- You can play with others or alone.
- Be present in your play. If your mind wanders to your to-do-list, push those thoughts away and play more.
- Be creative. Sure play can be a game, a sport or playing an instrument. It can also be reading a comic book, coloring, or telling jokes.
- Try something you’ve never done before.
- It must be FUN!
2. What do you notice is different for yourself after you play?
Leave a comment below and let me know!