Interview Overview:

Play is one of the most challenging things to define. It’s like defining a joke, when you do that it loses its magic. For me, I like to think of play as a mindset. When you engage in an activity in a playful manner you are present, engaged, and not taking yourself too seriously. It is so important to me because I believe we are wired to play, yet it is something that is being taken away from us because it is seen as nonsensical and we are suffering as a result.

There are a ton of benefits to incorporating play in your life, but my 4 favorites is:

  1. Increased Focus: When we were young kids and in school, we would have class then go out to recess. That small break to play actually made us more focused when we went back to class. If you ever find your attention drifting instead of popping on Facebook or reaching for that cookie, get up from your desk and do something physical to get your blood pumping. It doesn’t have to belong, it can be as little as 5 minutes.

    Pro Tip: if you are running a meeting and you want your attendees to be focused and connected do a simple ice breaker game.

  2. Deeper Relationships: I like to say “people that play together stay together.” The reason for this is when you are engaging in activities like play This creates neurochemicals in your brain called Serotonin and Oxytocin which are responsible for trust and generosity. If you are going out for drinks pick a location that has board games so you can engage in play. In the workshops that I perform at companies and events more often than not people leave feeling closer to their fellow participants than before they started.

  3. Cultivates a Growth Mindset: I have this belief that if you are not growing you’re dying. To activate the growth mindset is to learn something new, and play is a fun way to do that. In this scenario, you want to find something challenging like strategy board games, or mine and Lisa’s favorite IMPROV!

  4. Reduces stress: The hard truth is we are consistently put into the flight or fight state. Don’t believe me? Turn on the news for 10 minutes or take a scroll on social media and see how you feel. When we are in that state our brains produce the neurochemicals Cortisol and Adrenaline, great when we need to run from a tiger, however when we are constantly in this state we develop issues like anxiety, depression, digestive and sleep problems, heart disease, etc. The anecdote is play! When you play your body releases feel-good chemicals like Dopamine and Endorphins. In fact, instead of prescribing drugs, some doctors are prescribing play!

Read the full article here on the Follow the Fear website.