Today I want to chat a little about PLAY, Because it's a fabulous part of any healing journey and a fabulous part of LIFE. Play doesn't have to involve a game or a set of rules, play can simply be the attitude with which you colour your life, and when we play with life, we can create things that seem impossibly easy, fun and doable. When we play, we are more light hearted, energised, creative and resilient. We can easily take on a new perspective and let go of any stress, worry or attachment to a particular outcome as we give ourselves permission to explore and to laugh.
Rather than spending the next few minutes writing about the benefits of play for brain retraining, creativity and keeping things fresh (I think I'd be preaching to the converted), today I'd like to offer some ideas for incorporating play into your life, and introduce you (or remind you of) gamification.
Gamification is the application of game-like elements and game principles in "non-game" contexts; it's about adding that layer of play, curiosity and fun to the ordinary. A collection of research on gamification shows that it has positive effects on individuals. I promise it's not as much of a foreign concept as you may think. Out there in the world, gamification has been used to improve: - learning - knowledge retention - flow - physical exercise and companies use it for organizational productivity, user engagement, employee recruitment and evaluation, usefulness of systems, and more. How to gamify life: A method that was served up to me and my Thrive Life Mastermind Clients earlier this year was to take your three top values in life (eg. compassion, fun and honesty) and apply them to situations that you find challenging, boring, frustrating or just generally un-fun. Anne Rose Heart, the founder of the Quantum Play Institute, offered up this advice during an exclusive training, suggesting that you can bring in play by asking yourself questions, such as "How could I bring more compassion (or other top value) to every interaction I have today?" or "What would it look like if I was the QUEEN of fun (or your top value)?" embodying a character or superhero that oozes that quality and lives true to that value is a powerful way to keep yourself in line with the way you want to live, feel and BE in the world. Another tact is to simply crank up the fun dial on the mundane, applying game-like elements to boring "chores" or tasks. A penny dropped for me as Anne asked "Who decided that washing has to be boring, that doing the dishes has to be 'ughhhh'?" In an instant it was clear that we have been conditioned into believing that these "jobs" or "tasks" have to be boring, when they really don't! I was like; "OMG - time to unlearn that, real fast!" Five more quick ways to make the mundane tasks fun: 1. Speed it up - set yourself a time trial for how fast you can do something. I personally love this one, because it's like bending time - the task is just DONE and I can move on. 2. Slow it down - doing things verrrrry slowly can allow space for observation and mindfulness. It's not the aim of the game, but maybe you'll realise the way you do something could be improved when you slow it down and become fully aware of each step. Doing things very slowly can also help to quieten our minds if they're running a million miles an hour.
3. Add a sporting element - can you score a goal when you throw your laundry into the basket? Can you "skate" through the house in your socks, sliding and gliding around as you go about your day? 4. Dance or sing while you do something - whether it's clipping the kids into their car seat, making dinner or mopping, adding music, movement and/or singing to the game makes it more enjoyable and helps you to release feel good hormones.
5. Do it differently - challenge yourself to do whatever you are doing in a new or different way. Could you do it in reverse or upside down? What would it be like if you did it the way your mother does it? what might you discover if you drive or walk a different route to your destination? What if you brushed your teeth with the opposite hand?
Feel free to create your own ways (and share them in the comments below) - creating and inventing are all part of play!
Doing things in new ways allows us a new and enjoyable experience, but it also forces us to come up with new solutions and create new neural pathways. I'd like to leave you with a clip from Pippi Longstocking, one of my favourite childhood movies. I still sing this song sometimes when I think of the word "scrubbing" or the idea of scrubbing the floor; the song just springs to mind, probably because this just made it look so SUPER FUN and my positive emotional connection with it still brings it up to this day! Some of the lyrics if you can't press play right now: "I put my scrubbing shoes on and I never get the blues on
Monday morning, yeah yeah
This dust'll be a goner as I hit each dirty corner
Without warning, yeah yeah Throwing soap suds everywhere, we're being careful, very careful
To enjoy ourselves each step of the way
Scrubbing day is a holiday and the game we play
Is as wild as it can get
Scrubbing day is my favorite day, 'cause on scrubbing day
We make everything get wet" I hope this blog post helps YOU to enjoy yourself each step of the way! Bianca <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h7BXkNt_eLA" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Laugh with Me Live I have ONE MORE Live online Laughter Wellness session this year via Zoom (and do not plan to continue them in 2021), check out the details and register for your spot here.