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Cartoon: flirting is a form of play

Seven Reasons Why You Need to Play More

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

If you think playing is for kids, think again. Regular play is vital to being awesome in all kinds of ways. Here are just a few great benefits of adult playfulness.

1. Play keeps you young

Playing brings out your inner child, challenges your mind and keeps life fun. If you are on Facebook, look at old school friends. Who are the most playful? Who seem like they've hardly aged at all? Most likely both groups include pretty much the same people.

Play also provides physical and mental exercise that helps keep you in good physical and mental health, both of which keep you young.

2. Play helps you connect with your kids

If you've got children, I hope you play with them. It's a great way to connect with them on a relatively even level. Aside from interaction, playing with your kids allows you to teach them life-lessons about all kinds of things, such as fairness, being a good loser, being a gracious winner, how to solve problems and more. Games of pretend enable children to learn how to do things, such as buying goods from a shop, baking a cake and dealing with a baddie.

Playing with dolls or similar toys can be useful tools for exploring how people interact with each other, appropriate behaviour and understanding adults.

3. Play it till you make  it

You've doubtless heard the phrase, "fake it till you make it." I prefer, "play at it till you make it." The original "fake it" phrase implies that if you feel unqualified or not ready to do something, you should fake it until you can do it. For example, if you are sad, you might try faking happiness until you actually achieve happiness. If you feel unconfident, you should fake confidence until you start to feel confident.

However, "faking" something implies dishonesty. "Playing" on the other hand suggests that you are not trying to trick anyone. You are just, well, playing.

Moreover, you can play at more ambitious things than you can fake. For instance, if you want to be a better salesperson, you can do role-plays with friends or family members in which you play the role of a sales person and others play the roles of prospective customers. As you gain more confidence, they can play as increasingly difficult customers. The result is that you gain a kind of experience. More importantly, you can try different ways to approach customers, ask questions and do your pitch. As a result, you'll be better prepared for real customers.

4. Creative boost

Creativity is essentially a matter of playing with ideas and seeing what happens. Indeed, a number of studies, such as this one and this one, link creativity and play.

If you want to be able to think more creatively, probably the single best thing you can do is to play with the situation for which you want creative ideas. Want some creative ideas for improving a product your company makes? Play with the product. Pretend to be a customer. Pretend to be someone who does not understand the product. Pretend to hate the product. Find other uses for the product. Before you know it, you'll be positively bursting with ideas!

5. Humour boost

Humour and creativity are closely linked. Creativity is basically a matter of  making new, unexpected connections between existing concepts. Humour is the same thing with the aim of surprising people with those unexpected connections so that they laugh.

Comedians are by and large playful people John Cleese and Ricky Gervais are just two comedians of many who have stressed the importance of play to comedy and creativity.

If you question the value of having a sense of humour, just visit any dating site. Having a sense of humour will inevitably be one of the most sought after traits in a potential partner.

So, if your jokes don't get people rolling on the floor with laughter, the maybe you need to be more playful.

6. Effective flirting

Speaking of dating, the ability to flirt is a powerful tool in terms of meeting and attracting potential partners. Flirting is simply being playful with a potential love interest. It may involve teasing her or sharing a joke between the two of you. If you are playful in nature, you can almost certainly flirt like a hero.

7. Maintaining a relationship

Assuming  your flirtations succeeded and you have started a relationship with someone, do not lose the playfulness. Jokes shared between you and your partner; games you both enjoy playing together; and a shared ability to laugh at certain things keeps a relationship strong. And there is no reason to stop flirting with your partner just because she is your partner. Indeed, keep flirting!

In addition, adding an element of play to romance and love making ensures that this important side of your relationship remains enjoyable for years. If love-making becomes routine or dull with your partner, do not look for a new sex partner. Instead do playful, new sex with your existing partner.

The unexpected success of the 50 Shades of Grey series is demonstration that all kinds of people are interested in playing around with sex.

Play, play, play!

Play keeps you young, creative and good in bed. It improves your relationship with your partner and your children. In a nutshell, play makes you awesome!

How has playfulness made your life more awesome? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

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