In the past I tended to be a naturally serious person. I was pretty rigid and wanted things done a certain way. I found people who were always joking and playing to be unauthentic and foolish. I thought to myself naively, “How could they be so carefree and lack worry about life?”
Fortunately, as I grew as a person I was able see that being carefree and content isn’t about being irresponsible but about being open to enjoy life in the moment without unnecessary worry.
Being playful is being in touch with our true self.
I finally understand why so many people who are effortlessly carefree, joking, and playful toward life, are more happy and successful, at least subjectively.
In fact, having a playful and curious philosophy toward life offers many benefits. It leads to enhanced relationships, better mental health, and a more expansive view of life. Being playful doesn’t mean never taking life serious or dealing with responsibility, but is more of an approach and perspective to have fulfilling and gratifying interactions with others and more amusing experiences.
Before getting into the benefits of a being lighthearted and playful, here’s how to be more playful.
- Watch funny movies or video clips
- Read funny stories
- Use your imagination whenever possible
- Dance and sing along to music
- Tell funny jokes and laugh often
- Cut yourself some slack and don’t take yourself so seriously
Why be playful?
Relationships enhancement – Our mental health depends in large part on the quality of our relationships. Interacting with others in a playful manner builds a bond and adds positive emotions to relationships. It provides a source of tenderness, warmth, and connection. It also helps to smooth out difference and conflict by adding a friendly approach and lightening up disagreements.
Improved mood and less stress – Being playful also decreases stress and tension. It helps release negative energy and provides a way to cope with life when it seems starkly serious. Taking a relaxed and playful approach can help us change our perspective when things look bleak. By laughing and being open to moments of merriment it releases endorphins and can help boost our mood.
Improved creativity – A playful attitude has been shown to relate to greater creativity. Being open-minded and flexible provides alternative ways of approaching things and reveals new and unconventional options. Playfulness can help with uncovering creative solutions for solving problems in the workplace and life in general.
When was the last time you let yourself be truly amused and let go of apprehension from worry and fear?
Being playful is the perfect way to break tension and find pleasure during sober times. Sure, there is always a right place and time to use humor, fun, and lighthearted banter, and when used appropriately it can really provide a wonderful psychological resource to heighten spirits, and experience greater joy.
Photo credit: Cindi Matthews