As you know I’ve been thinking a lot about play and playfulness this month. I’ve had varying success implementing my Happiness Project resolutions for May. I haven’t, technically, carved out time each day to play. Turns out it’s a hard thing to prioritise when you’re also thinking about making money to pay the bills and all of that not so fun stuff. Play is important, I know it and I will continue to work on making time in my days for it. Something I’ve come to realise, though, is that playfulness is a state of mind as much as an action.
I am playful
You can cultivate a sense of playfulness in your day by starting the morning with this mantra. Telling yourself something often makes it true. I’ve found cultivating a playful state of mind to be really helpful, especially in getting through the busy month May has been for me. Here are some ways I’ve found playfulness as a state of mind to come in handy:
- Making stressful situations less stressful. We went to Manchester this month to find somewhere to live as we prepare for the big move. Keeping a sense of playfulness meant boyfriend and I didn’t get stressed with each other (or I didn’t get stressed at him), and we actually had a fun time.
- Helping to see the funny side in things. Sometimes, as humans, we can get caught up in one particular emotion (like anger, frustration, or annoyance) that isn’t helpful to us. There’s generally a funny side to most things. If someone’s annoying you/pissing you off a sense of playfulness can help you let go of the negative emotions and maybe see a funny side.
- Encouraging you to make different decisions. One of my resolutions for this month is ‘try something new/different’. I only remembered about this a few days ago, and momentarily freaked out because May’s nearly over and I haven’t done a big new thing. That evening boyfriend and I went for a spontaneous meal out. Afterwards I fancied ice cream, so we went on a hunt for the nearest open ice cream place and ended up running in somewhere just before it closed. I had a lychee & mint sorbet and it was delicious. I don’t think I’d have made these spontaneous choices if I hadn’t been in a playful state of mind. I’d probably have stuck with the normal routine and stayed home.
Playfulness opens up possibilities
Playfulness helps us to break out of the everyday, habitual decisions. When we’re inhabiting a playful mental space we can take a different route to work, or choose a different coffee shop to meet friends in. We have routines, and these generally serve us pretty well. But if we don’t break out of them every once in a while, we miss the possibilities and beauty and adventures the whole rest of the world has to offer. Playfulness, whether as an action or a state of mind, offers us a glimpse of different possibilities. That’s why play is so important.