When was the last time you played? If you can't remember what it is like to play, all you need to do is watch children at play for a few minutes to remember what it feels like to be completely free to move, laugh, and create with no particular goal in mind except to enjoy the moment.
Many of us may have to confess even when we are playing sports or other games, we do not completely let go of competing. Sometimes we get so caught up in the outcome we get even more stressed out and frustrated. One of the signs that you are truly at play is that you laughter more. When you are playing a game for fun or engaged in another activity with no other objective in mind but for the experience, you are totally in the moment and able to experience the joy of just being.
It seems that play is serious business. Play has been linked to stress relief, improved brain function, creativity, boosting energy, building relationships, and promotes optimism. Many companies have found that play is beneficial in the workplace. Many progressive companies encourage play by throwing regular parties, providing an opportunity to play games such as ping pong, or encouraging employees to take active breaks during the day. These companies see that these types of benefits result in improved productivity, higher employee engagement, and decreased turnover.
Even if your company doesn’t offer this kind of environment, you can still inject a little play into your work environment by finding games you can play with your fellow employees on breaks and during lunch. Sometimes play may mean no activity at all. It can be a light-heart approach to your work where you keep in perspective the bigger picture and to provide a humorous or playful view of a situation.
Taking the time to refresh your perspective through play is one of the best things you can do for your career. It may not occur to you to take a break when things are going wrong or when you are up against a deadline, but taking a break to play will help you engage the creative side of your brain. Taking a little time to participate in a playful activity might be just what you need to see a situation or problem from a different perspective.
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