What does it mean to play and why is it a fundamental part of our wellbeing?
Play is: ‘to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.’ Or in the words of social entrepreneur Jill Vialet: ‘Play gives us a brief respite from the tyranny of purpose.’ Play is pleasurable because it is for our enjoyment rather than any particular ‘need’. This takes pressure off our everyday lives and the need to attend to our never-ending ‘to do’ lists.
It helps us stay in the moment, open to new possibilities, and can lead us into opportunities to learn. When we lose ourselves in play we can enter a state of flow, where we are totally absorbed in the present and content. Play can also fire up our imagination and helps us to become more creative and think laterally, even when we’re not playing. People who play frequently where there’s social interaction involved are far more likely to have a heightened sense of trust. Play also facilitates self-regulation and conflict resolution as a result of higher emotional intelligence. This means we have the capacity for enhanced self and social awareness by increasing our ability to recognise emotions and their impact on both ourselves and others and our ability to reflect upon them. It helps us foster empathy, increasing our sense of connection, collaboration and community for our wellbeing.
Through play we get that we matter and that others matter because we are all part of a greater whole. Sadly, the importance of social play in the adult population is largely overlooked. Finding a safe space where we can play can be challenging. We want to play in a supportive environment where we are guided but can figure out some of our play for ourselves. AcroYoga fulfils many aspects of play that we seek. There is movement in the body, connection with others, laughter, support, and an opportunity to be in a state of flow. We learn, we move, we play, we have fun, we are present and, above all, we can just enjoy being ourselves and take some time out for some self-care.
• If you want to come and play with us, call or text AcroAlchemy on 07732 730501 or find us on Facebook and Instagram @AcroAlchemy