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Release, Realign, Recover & Discover

The Art of Play

What is Play?

By definition, play is purposeless, fun and suspends time. Through his

research Dr Stuart Brown shows that play is anything but trivial, it is as

vital to our health as sleep or nutrition.

“Play lights up the brain”. In children it connects neurons, “It primes the

cortex for the development of neural pathways that create our physical,

social-emotional and cognitive capabilities”. But science also shows us that play is productive for humans of any age. “We need to play to keep our brains flexible, ward off depression, sustain optimism, and sharpen our social-emotional skills”.

“The opposite of play is not work, it is depression” Brain Sutton-Smith

Play is Apparently Purposeless

Play may have goals but pleasure and the engaging quality of the activity are more important than the outcome. It’s not that play has no purpose, it’s that the purpose of play may not be immediately apparent or important.

Play is Self-Motivated and has Inherent Attraction

Play does not have to be a ‘productive use of time’ or a duty. It is self-motivated so we will want to return to play because it is enjoyable.

Play is Unique to us

We naturally want to play. What constitutes play for me, may not be play for you. Play is what feels good, or fun, nurturing or energising for you. Play is something we love and want to do.

Play has a Feeling of Suspending Time

When we are involved in play we lose track of time. Play is a state of being. We are so present to the moment that time often seems to fly, or even cease to exist. Play Involves a Diminished Consciousness of Self

During play we are so engaged that we stop thinking about ourselves in terms of good or bad and there is no concern about what others think of us.

Play involves Improvisational Potential Play allows us the space to improvise, imagine, and follow those new inclinations to see what happens. Through play we stumble onto new or forgotten (to us), patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting in the world. These new or remembered patterns offer us new ways of being and connecting or reconnecting with other people.

Play produces Continuation Desire Play makes us want to keep on playing. Even though you may have time constraints when playing there is an essence of not wanting it to end. We will often improvise or bend the rules in order to keep on playing. You know that you are involved in play when you are genuinely unhappy to see it come to an end.

I am lucky to have found my play through Continuum Movement and Authentic Movement. I encourage you to find your favourite play activity and benefit from its healing power.


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