Play for adult is often seen as unproductive, and a pleasure that may be induleged in, then feel guilty about. It is also viewed as something invalueable, and with all the professional responsibilities one has on his shoulder, one does not have time to play.

As Bowen White, a medical doctor and author of why normal isn’t healthy says “The only kind [of play] we honor is competitive play.” Yet play is crucial not only for kids but adults as well. The need for please and novelty is never lost even we grow up according to Eberle who studies at The Strong and editor of the American Journal of Play. It is known that play positively affects problem solving, creativity, relationships.

Stuart Brown, MD, the founder of National Institute of Play mentioned in his book Play, where he compares play to oxygen. That play is all around us but it often goes by unnoticed until the point where it goes missing completely. When you think that music, movies, arts, reading, and all these things are in essence is play, the fact mentioned above that play is all around us won’t be surprising. Brown has spent decades studying how play is powerful to many people from prisoners to businesspeople to Nobel Prize winners. 6000 play histories were studied in order to link its affect in childhood and adulthood.

For example, it was found that one factor that contributed to criminal behavior of murders in Texas prisons was lack play. As well as, the fact that play helps rekindle relationships and help with emotional intimacy of couples.

Dr. White is not only a doctor and speaker but he is a clown as well. For two decades he would go to hospitals and orphanages all over the world to clown at, as well corporate presentations and prisons. He shows how play could be healing and develops connections with strangers. He says that clowning isn’t only for kids but adults as well. He is not the only one who clowns, in Colombia, White’s wife and Patch Adams’s son – also clowns. They visited a bedridden father because his daughter requested so. They both sat on the sides of his bed and neither of them know how to speak the language of the other. Still, they, laughed, sang together, and even played cushions. They also cried. The woman later said the experience was very enjoyable to her father. White have said that play does lead us to these sacred spaces and touch people in powerful ways.

What’s Play?

Eberle said that defining play is hard to pinpoint, and that it’s more of a process rather than a thing, and that it also begins with anticipation, then leads to surprise and pleasure which helps in cultivating understanding and strength, in the form of skill and empathy, then finishes in poise.

How to Play

Play benefits can be gained without the need to use a lot of time in a day. Brown, says even little can affect happiness and wellbeing. These are few tips in how to add play into your life:

Change how you think about play :

Since play is important to many aspects in life, give yourself permission to play every day. For instance, consider play might be manifested in can mean talking to a pet, tiding a room, or even studying. It can also be reading aloud to your partner or kids. Brown said “Some playful writers are made to be read aloud: Dylan Thomas, Art Buchwald, Carl Hiaasen, S.J. Perelman, Richard Feynman, Frank McCourt.”

Take a play history:

Browns book includes a primer that help readers reconnect with play. He suggests that readers would reflect on their past for play ideas, and think what things you used to do that made you excited a lot? Did you do these things alone or with others? How would you recreate that today?

Surround yourself with playful people:

Both Brown and White emphasized the need to have friends who are playful.

Play with little ones:

Another way to play is playing with kids, this will help you understand play from their perspective. This is a good encouragement to spend time with your kids and grandchildren as well. This is a point both White and Brown discussed.

So anytime you think play is wasting your time, just remember its benefits. As Brown says in his book, “Play is the purest expression of love.”