Play Like A Child, Find Joy As An Adult

Category: Play Therapy

Amidst all of the negativity in the world today, it is even more important to find moments of joy. Imagine a child playing or running for the swings: pure joy! Filling your heart with happiness can help carry you through the darker and more trying times. So, the big question is: How do we, as adults, play?

As an adult, we are taught to be responsible and that playing is for children. But why do we give up finding ways to play? Author George Bernard Shaw stated, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” This is a slow process of increasing responsibilities: work, buying a house, getting married, having children, saving for retirement, and so on.

Over time, play decreases as other activities fill in our time. But play does not have to mean building with Legos or creating a fort in the living room, though it can. Playing means letting go of the structure of everyday life and finding happiness. Playing is found through the feeling of freedom and abundant joy. But, how do you play as an adult?

Some will go dancing, see a band live, or travel. Right now, those options are limited or not possible given the COVID-19 restrictions. However, that does not mean you cannot find ways to play. Have a dance party in the house, watch a movie that brings back happy memories, or make cookies from scratch and eat them before dinner. In episode 7 of season 6 of Friends, Phoebe talks about running like she did when she was a child, because it is the only way it is fun. This is a way to play: freedom, joy, and fun. Look for moments or activities that can bring you these feelings. Your health will thank you for it!

Michelle A. Culver, LMFT