Mental Wellbeing and Play

July 31, 2020

Play is defined as engaging in an activity for enjoyment, rather than a serious or practical purpose. It is decided upon and controlled according to an individual’s instinct, imagination and interests, as part of an experience. We often think of play as being something children do to foster cognitive, social, emotional and physical wellbeing and development – but its benefits mean that we should all be trying to play a bit more.

  • Play relieves stress – it triggers endorphin (feel-good chemicals) release
  • Play improves brain function – challenging the brain prevents memory problems and the social interaction helps protect our mental wellbeing
  • Play boosts creativity – everyone learns best when they’re relaxed and having fun, and it helps you adapt, and solve problems
  • Play improves our relationships – sharing a playful experience fosters empathy and trust, helps us form new relationships and deal better with stress
  • Play gives us energy – it boosts your energy and can even promote physical health
  • Play promotes important skills – it builds confidence, resilience, independence and our ability to cope. It develops our social and physical skills too

Outdoor play is particularly good – it is a protective factor for our mental wellbeing. For our young people, it is important we enable independent play opportunities as these are often being diminished in the present day. You can spend time playing with children to share the benefits. Play isn’t just toys and games or using our imagination – it’s reading books, art, films, music, comedy, singing, dancing, trying something new and even daydreaming. ‘Play is the purest expression of love’ – Stuart Brown, MD

 

 

 

     

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