The improvement in personal well-being might be worth effort.
- Researchers in Germany discovered that even serious adults can become playful with training.
- Developing a playful attitude leads to better overall well-being.
- Play is a deeply embedded ancestral brain system, according to neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp.
The Primal Power of Play<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fafc9008ca88bf9da3d71010070d23da"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3KanfLqKXYg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Many adults lose their sense of play as they age, though some retain it. Previous research has shown playful adults appear to experience better moods. The team in Germany wanted to know if playfulness can be taught, even in serious adults.</p><p>The naturally playful seem to experience an emotional boon. Lead author of the study, Professor René Proyer, <a href="https://pressemitteilungen.pr.uni-halle.de/index.php?modus=pmanzeige&pm_id=5088" target="_blank">says</a>,</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Particularly playful people have a hard time dealing with boredom. They manage to turn almost any everyday situation into an entertaining or personally engaging experience."</p><p>Proyer's team divided 533 volunteers into three groups. One group was tasked to write down three playful situations they experienced during the course of their day for seven nights; another group was asked to reflect broadly on any playful moments throughout the day; the control group was given an assignment irrelevant to the study.</p><p>Every volunteer filled out a questionnaire before the study began. They then responded to questionnaires four times after the intervention, the last being 12 weeks after the study's conclusion. Researcher Kay Brauer, part of Proyer's group, believed people could train themselves to be more playful. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Our assumption was that the exercises would lead people to consciously focus their attention on playfulness and use it more often. This could result in positive emotions, which in turn would affect the person's well-being." </p>
Photo: altanaka / Shutterstock<p>The team was right. The group tasked with writing down playful experiences experienced an increase in well-being. Proyer feels this could be used at work and in romantic relationships, as well as in life in general. Being an intuitive, ancestral component of the human experience, any opportunity to play should be taken seriously as part of a holistic program for mental health.</p><p>While Panksepp focused his career on play in children, he admitted adults can also play. He was concerned that play-reducing medications like Ritalin stunts this ancestral need. As he says, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We have to develop a society that understands play, and the many good things it does for children's brains and minds. We developed the concept of having 'play sanctuaries,' where children have safe environment to play and develop their own games. We have much to learn about how good play is for the brains of our children."</p><p>As this new research shows, play is healthy at any age. Perhaps we all need to create a play sanctuary. While it won't solve the world's problems, it could help the days pass with a little more levity. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
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Certified sommelier Carlos Batista will show you the ropes of bartending.
- Neighborhood bars might be closed, but you can still enjoy your favorite cocktails at home.
- Sommelier Carlos Batista will teach everything you need to know about vodka, sake, tequila, wine, whiskey, and more.
- In his nine-course bundle, you'll learn all about flavors, how to read labels, and how to mix the perfect drink.
Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.
- An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
- According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
- Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.
A fun and completely safe experiment for the family to try during quarantine.
- Most of us are staying home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, but that doesn't mean there isn't learning and fun to be had.
- It's important to take a break from screen time. Kate the Chemist, professor, science entertainer, and author of "The Big Book of Experiments," has just the activity: Creating a bubble snake using common household ingredients including dish soap, food coloring, rubber bands, a towel, and a small plastic bottle.
- In this step-by-step tutorial, Kate walks us through the simple process of building the apparatus and combining materials to bring the fun snakes to life.