Here at Lindywell, we’ve focused on making the game a daily habit, both on and off the Pilates mat. What I discovered is that taking time to play is much more than just having fun – it is an essential component of my mental and physical health.
However, as adults, it can be difficult to integrate the game into our normal routines. If you’re like me, you have a schedule full of commitments and priorities that require your attention. The good news is that you don’t have to put in hours every day to take advantage of the many benefits of the game. In fact, you may not even need to add anything extra.
Here are five reasons to make this childhood hobby a daily habit, plus some tips on how to do it.
1. Play for Mental Health
Mental health struggles can seem inevitable at times. Our world is hectic and our lives are busy! This is why gambling is so necessary: it might even help you restore the balance you’ve been longing for in your life.
During COVID-19, 200 quarantined respondents were asked to track their moods. According to the research, those who prioritized leisure activities (meaning things they voluntarily participate in for fun) were more mentally adaptable and resilient in the face of pandemic stress. Those people were also less vulnerable to depression, anxiety and loneliness, and reported higher overall life satisfaction.
Even in difficult circumstances, gambling can be the natural mood lifter you need to help maintain mental and emotional well-being.
Your new daily habit: Change your perception of “playing”. What I mean is that everyday activities like exercising, cooking dinner, or listening to music in the car can be fun if you choose to. Pick an exercise you love, try a new recipe for dinner, or put on your favorite high school music to turn these everyday activities into play outings.
2. Play for productivity
Productivity is often the name of the game, whether you’re cleaning the yard or working in an office. Surprisingly, gaming can be a key element in helping you be more productive. Office workers who played a team video game for 45 minutes were 20% more efficient and productive when they returned to work. This recreational activity emphasized collaboration and enjoyment, and the results were well worth it.
Team members also improved in their cohesion, problem solving, communication, goal orientation, motivation, and creative thinking. Plus, they had to carve out time to focus and process information quickly, all of which boost brain function.
Your new daily habit: Take game breaks between productive parts of your day. Go for a walk, dance around the house, or play with your pet. I love BLANK on busy days, and I always come back feeling refreshed and ready to jump right back in.
3. Play for your relationships
It is not a coincidence that young children who play together often become close friends. This phenomenon does not apply only to children either. Play is also a way to build healthy adult relationships, no matter what stage of life you are in.
A group of adults (45 years or older), who played together for 10 consecutive weeks, had a marked improvement in their relationships with each other. They reported feeling more emotionally attuned, cooperative, altruistic, trusting, and empathetic to one another—how great!
They also felt encouraged to be authentic without fear of being judged. That’s because shared play can reinforce secure community ties. So powerful and yet so simple.
Your new daily habit: Prioritize play and fun opportunities in your relationships with romantic partners, family, and friends. Maybe you put your phones away and try to play a game of cards while you wait at a restaurant or play charades while catching up with your friends. These small changes can make a big difference in the way you connect with the people around you.
4. Play for self-confidence
Confidence doesn’t have to come from loving how you look in the mirror or being the smartest in the room. The game can give your confidence an amazing boost. This is because fun activities can foster a sense of self-worth and worth, increase feelings of competence and self-efficacy, and create more meaning in life.
Here’s the catch with this: The form of play you choose needs to be enjoyable, stimulating, active, and intentional to count as a confidence booster, according to research. In other words, watching your favorite TV show won’t work. The game that boosts your confidence should immerse both the brain and the body.
Your new daily habit: A great way to gain this confidence is to make your daily movement more fun. While I think most (well, maybe all!) Pilates workouts are fun, we have some Lindywell workouts specifically designed to be fun, like Mood Boosting Pilates.
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5. Play for a vibrant and energetic sense of self
To quote George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.” I love this quote because, even though he uttered those words almost a century ago, his point is still very relevant today.
A playful and imaginative attitude will keep you vibrant, energetic, and full of wonder. If you’ve ever seen a child, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. This not only feels great, but also supports overall health and may even increase predictors of longevity.
Adults (59+) who prioritize active recreation on a regular basis have more efficient metabolisms and more available energy, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer mortality. Disease prevention that’s also fun? Count on us!
Your new daily habit: Find ways to play that you really enjoy, instead of letting it be another item on your to-do list. This will help you stay consistent with the game so you can reap the benefits well into your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. This is an important part of aging intentionally and loving the journey.
Playing is the daily habit that has been missing from your schedule
Making gaming a daily habit can be as simple as turning things like dinner, exercise, or the drive to work into a fun time. You don’t necessarily need more time, you just need to be intentional about what you do with your time and how much fun you make it!
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