Image you abruptly wake up to your phone alarm clock. You get a cup of coffee and get ready for work. Once you arrive, a sense of dread washes over you. Assignments seem to never stop piling up, you can’t get out from the work, and there is no outlet you can use to maintain sanity. Before long, anxiety becomes a major problem in your life, effects your relationships, and has a negative impact on your overall health. This is a typical problem that impacts most of the western population.
According to a study in 2006, over 72% of Americans struggle with stress and anxiety on a daily basis that is moderately disruptive in their life. Partially, this is due to a lack of play and enjoyment in their lives. It isn’t work that poses the biggest problem; it is the lack of balance with playful and fun activities.
The greatest risk to Americans (and other westerners) is chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, which is primarily exacerbated by anxiety and stress. Treat your body poorly and sickness will be right around the corner. The answer is to learn how to integrate more play into your life because not everyone can surf all day! Here are a few methods you can use to add more play into your life:
1. Find an old activity – Try to think back to a time and activity you enjoyed when younger. It might have been a sport, a board game, or just a game you made up and played with friends. Find a group to play this old activity and see how it improves your life. Somehow we get the wrong idea that play is for children and not for adults. How wrong and misguided we are! An old activity you are confident in can help you to get started and add more joy into your life.
2. Dance your pants off – It might seem odd, but dancing is one of the most expressive, freeing, and joyful expressions that you can engage in. You get an opportunity to let the music flow through you and this provides innumerable stress relieving benefits. Just because you are older and afraid of what people think about you doesn’t mean you have an excuse not to dance. Find any and all opportunities to dance!
3. Partnered activities – There are a variety of different activities you can do by yourself, but partner games add another element completely. Suddenly you are connecting with another human being in physical, mental, and emotional ways that you never expected. Humans are social animals and connection with others is a big part of our life. Partnered activities, such as AcroYoga or even jiujitsu, can be great ways of improving your feelings of happiness.