Dr Stuart Brown found through his neurological studies of the human brain, that “nothing lights up the brain like play” (Play is more than just fun, TED Talk). He has spent his career blending science, biology, psychology, sociology and human storytelling to comprehensively examine play, so I’m gonna believe him.
- engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
This is what most intrigues me about play - “rather than a serious or practical purpose”.
As we become buried in the “shoulds”, expectations, productivity, and outcome-orientation of adulting, we come to somewhat resent play. It becomes trivial. A luxury. An indulgence. A distraction from the important serious matters. Sometimes even irresponsible. It is easy to see how having such a pessimistic view of play allows our feelings of burnout, overwhelm, boredom, hustle, and not being ourselves to dominate. I’ve been there. I’d subconsciously sabotage opportunities to play by showing up half-assed, because I didn’t want to let down my busy, hard-working, hustle persona. I wore busy as a badge of honour. And eventually I landed on that badge like a fallen hero - from burnout. A physical force stop. What a bunch of BS.
Life is not meant to be a constant slog!
Yes, we have responsibilities, duties, deadlines, and relationships to honour, but our ability to manage and meet these expectations can actually be enhanced through play. Studies show how important regular play is to our resilience, optimism, creative thinking, self expression, problem solving, trusting relationships and stress regulation. Hell, give me that pill now.
This doesn’t mean we all become deliriously happy 24/7, just like we’re not meant to be highly stressed 24/7. And before you say your schedule, your work, your finances don’t enable you to play ... play is a nature that is already within all of us. It was there as a child and it is still there calling you to return. It’s time to stop pitting work and play against each other (my views on work-life balance warrant a completely separate post), and start living a life infused with play.
- the retention of childlike behaviour traits and characteristics in adult life
So why do I use play in coaching? Because I know my clients feel bored and left-wanting by the status quo. But they are fearful to walk their own path because the unknown is scary AF. They seek self-compassion, self-validation and self-expression. That is what This Electrified Life has always stood for. Owning yourself 100% in all the quirks and contradictions of light/dark, wild/reserved, extrovert/introvert is still the desire I have for my clients. I have simply found a common practice to help get us there. Engaging with play and creativity can deliver us self-compassion and self-expression, and light the spark that lives at the intersection of our supposed contradictions. Learning to step out of our comfort zone, to try things with no expectation but joy, to build strategies against fear of failure, and confidence against social expectations all increases our openness to change, which for me = going after what you want.
So it is time to get serious about play (pun intended).
It’s time to override the path paved for you that values perfection, productivity, power, and pressure, over your self expression, creativity, flow and mental wellbeing.
It’s time to become your own permission. And your own validation.
I’m calling all the rebels, go-getters, misfits, tomboys, beautiful contradictions to come forward. You are my electric souls. And I want to help you ignite your sparks.
Start your adventure by requesting your questionnaire + complimentary Exploration Session firstname.lastname@example.org