Play is good for everyone, seriously. It seems odd to link play with being serious as it is natural for children but can be considered frivolous for adults. This is probably because we take ourselves too seriously. Some research shows that our forebears were much more playful all through their short lives. Play is the cheapest form of entertainment that improvises with whatever is available. I can still remember the images of playing submarines in the school courtyard. Enacted storytelling is an ancient way of bonding and communicating. It is probably in our epigenetic DNA.
We Learn Through Play
Play is a highly effective way of learning. So good that most of the animal kingdom is hardwired to play in infancy. Animals deprived of play show retarded brain development and antisocial behaviour. In one experiment, complete restriction of play even resulted in death as all curiosity to explore and survive was overruled by fear. It is through the stress of social interaction that we learn to regulate our inner environment. We learn to self regulate and balance survival responses and curiosity … so it doesn’t kill the cat.
As children we learn adaptability by exercising our imaginations through playing with friends. When two people play, their right brains become attuned and they enter into an altered state where joy and laughter are spontaneous. In play we develop unconscious signals that communicate trust. In this way it is a powerful social bonding agent that fosters tolerance and encourages group cohesion. People who play together stay together.
We Make Connections Through Play
When you are in the play zone you are open to making new connections between objects and ideas and even people. Possibilities are only limited by personalities and imaginations. It is the playful who invent things, cross boundaries and stay young at heart. It is what has kept us ahead as a species. Amongst our evolutionary cousins, the Bonobos, play is at the core of their society. They play and have sex constantly to bond and reduce stress with the result that they live in a very peaceful society with no fatal violence as far as we know.
Play Can be Healing
Play does have rules that we instinctively create, as all that freedom can be dangerous. By keeping to the rules children learn to be aware and care for others, whilst also discerning which rules can be broken. So it is that through play we prepare ourselves to meet the outside world. We act out adult scripts learnt from our role models. Observing children playing can reveal a lot about their parents and home life. We can also mend broken scripts through play as therapy and undo the effects of bad role models and trauma.
Play is fun and seriously good for everyone. It is doubly beneficial when combined with sex, so let go and let the play begin!