Adding Play to Your Day: a Playful Attitude Can Improve Life

A man wheels a female co-worker around in an office chairWhat are your basic needs? Do any of your basic needs fit into the categories of better health or conquering specific fears? Do health issues or your fears hold you back from living fully and contributing in the way you would like to? What can you do to help yourself?

By finding ways to bring your own unique, playful attitude into your life you may find your health improves and the blocks that stop you from making changes begin to fade. There is a difference between what you do and who you, are as a person. I, for instance, wear many hats as a Jungian therapist who emphasizes the importance of play and creativity. I am more than what I do, and so are all of you reading this article. One approach to exploring how to bring a playful attitude into your life is to look at your work life. You can explore and expand how you see yourself, as you work, and how you relate to and interact with others you work with on a day-to-day basis.

As I work hard and play hard in my work, I start my day with drive which gets me going on a Monday morning.  That push can be gentle or can be quite insistent. I can find myself pushing too hard, at the beginning of the week, with a quickly diminishing store of energy. Workaholism, increasing stress, migraines, and back problems can often be traced to too much drive with little time for relaxation and ease. This can happen to the best of us, even when we love what we do.

Most of us, whether we are a parent, creative entrepreneur, healthcare professional, student, or full-time artist can find ourselves in over-drive. If I notice my “driver” and pay attention I can harness that energy and take playful action toward the completion of important projects. One way to do that is to set positive intentions for my day, start my Monday morning by playing a piece of music that I enjoy, or sending out a quote to share my gratefulness for being in service for the good of others.

There are many businesses popping up to help clients organize their offices or homes. We all have an inner organizer. For some of us this is our home base, energetically. Teachers for example often are organizers-par-excellence. When organizers are working in positive territory they begin and end projects with ease, they follow through; they are focused, and have a clear intention as to why they are pursuing a particular lesson plan or idea. On the down side, organizers can be rigid in their “shaping” and get stuck. This can be a block that prevents them from accomplishing what they started. For instance, an organizer can prepare and do research, but then never get to the next step of the project, leaving it incomplete.

Some of us are able to sleep on the plane at a moment’s notice, watch the clouds drift through the sky and point out what shapes we see (“oh, look Harriet, that cloud looks like a dinosaur”), or take daily naps with ease. For these visionaries and dreamers life can be a glorious journey of ever-widening possibilities. Children, adults, and elders that “hang-out” with ease are often the same folks who come up with the most innovative of ideas. The downside of this style is not getting anything accomplished or being called an underachiever, which often is the result of not harnessing the positive qualities that come from stopping long enough to see the “big picture.” Creative entrepreneurs, of all types, are well-served by taking the time to meditate on and incubate ideas. When whole-hearted visioning is married to commitment, amazing things can happen.

Lastly, if you are the kind of person who finds co-creating and collaborating with others fully engaging then you likely flow well with others and have found a good balancing point between giving and receiving. The ability to work with others in a collaborative style can be an overwhelmingly positive asset toward the success of a group.

What are your primary styles?

By taking the time to notice and play with your unique way of creating/working, I think you will find that you feel better and are able to unhinge some of the blocks preventing you from committing fully to yourself and your purpose in life.

For additional inspiration read the book:  Move to Greatness: Focusing the Four Essential Energies of a Whole and Balanced Leader, by Ginny Whitelaw & Betsy Wetzig.

© Copyright 2011 by Mary Alice Long, PhD, therapist in Langley, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • betty

    betty

    June 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    I’m currently studying history in college and yes I am doing this course because I’m interested in it.The things I come across in my course have held my imagination for many years.And I would be right on the spot if I’m to say I chose the course for this reason.When you have interest in something,even that ‘work’ feels nice.Adding a little play element as you have suggested works for most of us and I would recommend it to people any day.

  • Kris

    Kris

    June 22nd, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Play at work?
    My boss would kill me if I so much as went on facebook. Play is not an option.

  • Jason

    Jason

    June 23rd, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    Know yourself and know your style. Some people are so much more productive when they know their own work style and what works best for them. Just like anything else in life it is all about knowing yourself and putting that into play in all of the different facets of your life.

  • KEIRON

    KEIRON

    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Just stop doing things in a programmed manner, take the occasional leave for no reason and just go with the flow and do whatever that comes to your mind, enjoy the weekends-all these are ways you can include play. Play does not only mean logging on to Facebook during work! Nobody would accept that!

  • Mary Alice Long, PhD

    Mary Alice Long, PhD

    July 11th, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Thank you for your comments. There are many ways to bring a playful attitude to work. With ease you can access your playful Self and find new opportunities as you work and study. Each of us makes choices and those choices create the life we live. Its up to each of us to examine those choices and decide what kind of life we want to live, for ourselves and for the good of all.

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