When’s the last time you took the time to play? You know, doing something just for fun?
Playing is important in our stressful go-go-go lives and is known to help leaders relax. But somewhere between childhood and now, we’ve stopped playing. Why?
One explanation could be education. It’s common to hear at school that there’s a right answer (=good mark) and…a wrong answer (=bad mark). As we grow older, so does fear of failure. To protect our self-confidence, we stop putting ourselves in situations where failing can happen. And we stop playing.
It’s a shame, isn’t it? Playing gives us a chance to try a lot of different things with almost no fear of the consequences. Thinking with the hands and the mind boosts creativity in the brain and allows for different, imaginative thinking. But that’s not all: several studies have shown that playing, as a habit, relieves stress and can help leaders relax.
When you play, you release endorphins (the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals). When you exhibit positivity, social benefits are at hand. Playing together reinforces a cooperative nature and sense of connection. Having fun and laughing together fosters empathy, trust and intimacy. These are not just important to loosen up and relax…but they exhibit attributes of a confident and relaxed leader.
Not convinced? Read what Psychiatrist, Stuart Brown, says about playing (Source: Washington Post):
“What all play has in common is that it offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, takes the player out of a sense of time and place, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome.”
Being deeply engaged in a fun and pleasurable activity can bring you into your “zone” (or “flow”), where you’re fully involved into what you’re doing, helping you to focus better, increasing intrinsic motivation, and bringing a sense of ecstasy and even serenity.
So ready to come out and play? This infographic will show you why playing is important to help leaders relax.