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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Importance Of Play And Humour In Our Lives

Play, humour and laughter are an essential part of our lives. Play name is associated with children or with sports, but adults need to play for the development of their mind and soul. Everyone knows of the physical benefits of engaging in a more active lifestyle, but did you realize there are proven psychological benefits as well?

Like play, humour and laughter plays an important role in our lives. First read few quotes about 'humour':

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.”
Henry Ward Beecher quotes (Liberal US Congregational minister)

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”
- Bill Cosby quotes (American Actor, Comedian and Producer)

Humor, laughter and play lighten our burdens and help us to keep things in perspective. A good hearty laugh reduces stress, elevates mood, and improves brain functioning. Play is our most joyous form of nonverbal communication in personal and work relationships.

Enriching our interactions with humor, laughter and play also gives our relationships that extra zing that keeps them happy, light, and joyful. This shared pleasure can create a sense of intimacy and connection, qualities that define healthy long lasting relationships.

Mutual playfulness is more than fun; it’s an opportunity for you to relax, renew, and refresh yourself—whether at home or at work. Using playful communication broadens your emotional intelligence. But as adults we forget 'how to play'? If played properly it rewards us the joy of relaxation and pure joy. So let's "learn to play"

Learning to Play

Many people, not having experienced mutual play as infants, don’t know how to play as adults. The good news is that this is something you can learn! The more you play, the easier it becomes, and the more you practice, the more you learn. Make a commitment to play by putting aside quality play time on a regular basis. Realize that self-consciousness and concern for how you look and sound to others is probably a big factor that’s limiting your playfulness. Remember—as a baby, you were naturally playful; you didn’t worry about the reaction of other people.

Learning to play together is necessary for sharpening the fun skills that help make your relationships flourish. The process of learning to play depends on your preferences. Begin by observing what you already do that borders on fun - telling and listening to jokes; going to movies; making faces in the mirror when you're alone; daydreaming; even eating can be playful. Then, you can try to incorporate more playful activities into your life. You could try taking an improvisation comedy class, throw a costume party, or even volunteer to provide entertainment, such as playing Santa Claus, for the next holiday gathering. The important thing is to find enjoyable activities that loosen you up and help you embrace your playful nature with other people.

Another excellent way to learn playfulness is to practice with “experts”:

- Play with animals. Puppies, kittens, and other young animals are eager playmates and always ready to frolic. Make play dates with friends’ pets, or get your own.

- Play with babies and young children. The real authorities in human play are children, especially young children. Playing with children who know and trust you is a wonderful way to learn from the experts.

- Play with customer service people. Most people in the service industry are social and you’ll find that many will welcome playful banter.

As humor and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for playing with loved ones will occur to you daily.

Source: This article is based on a portion of Dr. Jeanne Segal's new book, 'The Language of Emotional Intelligence', The Five Essential Tools for Building Powerful and Effective Relationships.

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