How to Find More Play In Your Life

By My Act III on Apr 08, 2015 at 02:25 PM in Interests, Dreams, My Act III, Nurturing Your Soul, Relationships

How can you find more “play” in your life? If you don’t feel like you are a playful person, it may be that you don’t consider some of the things you already do as playful. You know you are experiencing play if you find yourself laughing, daydreaming, losing track of time, or anticipating certain activities with joy. Play is a personal endeavor. What one person finds as work, another may define as play. One person may find play in golfing; another may find play while rearranging a closet.

There are seven steps we suggest to unleash these four characters and discover more playful moments.

  1. Think about what you have discovered to be fun throughout your life. Recount moments in your life when you felt you were playing or having fun. Start with your earliest memory and use the feeling to find other experiences where the joy was felt. Write these memories down and you will discover the particular mode that characterizes your definition of fun. We discovered that in our definition of fun, learning was a major component. We discovered that we were explorers—when we were learning something new, we experienced all the characteristics of fun. Once you find what makes you playful, it will be easier to find more moments of lightness and joy.
  2. Say “yes.” Check those moments when you are tempted to put up excuses for not participating.
    We often encounter resistance when breaking established patterns. “I don’t have time, I don’t have the energy, I don’t have the money, I have a headache, my house isn’t ready for company” are all red flags that you are in resistance mode. When you hear yourself saying these excuses, stop and say “yes” instead. You will find that the headache will vanish, that it will be money well spent, and you will be filled with energy as you find yourself laughing and having a good time.
  3. Practice gratitude. Every day, reflect on the good that has happened throughout the day. Being grateful allows you to put a new frame around your experiences. The day your dishwasher goes out may be the day you are treated with kindness by the installer. The day you sprain your ankle may be the day you bond more closely with the friend who drove you to the doctors. By looking at the situation with gratitude, you develop a more positive, lighter spirit that makes you a JBF and encourages you to say “yes” to life’s joyful moments.
  4. Practice compartmentalization. Reserve time where negative thoughts are off limits. No one can have fun when they are feeling sorry for themselves or seeing a world of doom. We all experience times in our life when we want our pity party. But here is a hint: no one likes to go that party! While problems may need to be attended to, negative feelings are contagious and keep you from being creative and finding solutions. Make a conscious effort to NOT mention negatives – at least for a period of time. Engage in joyful activities while you put the problem to rest. When you return to thinking about the situation, you may find it easier to deal with. Compartmentalization increases your JBF factor and helps you explore your interests.
  5. Explore interests: An important part of play is exploring new areas and skills. As children, we used play to experience new roles, build skills, and explore possibilities. The same is true for adults. Start an interest diary. Every time you think of something that might be fun, write it down. As you do this, you will be starting the habit of being on the lookout for fun. Would it be fun to take a cooking class? Learn how to whittle? Build a campsite and take your grandchildren for an outdoor adventure? Once you build your diary, pick one thing a month that you commit to trying out. You will find that, in the new activities, play is the natural way of learning.
  6. Go out of your comfort zone: People feel comfortable in routines. We drive the same way to work every day. We tend to eat at the same lunchroom and order the same meals. At least once a week, change a routine. Take a different route home. Plan a sit down dinner using the good china. Better yet, invite a friend over, set out some fresh flowers, and light a couple of candles. You will discover what so many people seek from play: The enjoyment of the simple things.
  7. Turn drama into a comedy: There will be those times when you feel that you have been overlooked, under-appreciated, stepped on, disrespected, or simply the victim of bad luck. Recognize that you have a choice in the way you react. Where is the humor in the situation? Where are you taking yourself too seriously? Talk the situation over with a friend and ask them to help you find the humor in the situation. You can creatively re-write the script and laugh at the silliness of it all. You will be in a much different frame of mind after you play with the drama instead of dwelling in it.

Play is a tonic at every stage of life; in ACT III it serves to revitalize our interest in ourselves and in our lives, keeping us relevant and interesting to all we meet. So get out and play.

My Act III

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