A dog naturally values play. In fact, a good playful romp or a morning spent “playing cliff,” (dropping toys one by one off the couch to see what will happen) are at the top of a canine’s to-do list. It turns out, PLAY has a number of benefits for our humans as well:
1. Play and humor increase hopefulness.
2. Play relieves stress.
3. Play is creative.
4. Play is foundational to art. Peter Gray, a researcher on the value of play in humans, says, “doing something just for the fun of it could, in humans, become doing something just for the beauty of it.” This is the essence of art.
5. Freely-chosen, non-competitive play helps children develop into cooperative adults. And social play develops a tendency toward sharing and egalitarianism. Play also develops a connection with others.
6. To play well and keep your play buddies interested, you develop emotional intelligence to attune to the needs and interests of others.
7. An ability to play keeps you feeling young.
8. Play prevents burn-out.
9. Play develops cognitive abilities needed for creative problem-solving and helps you think out of the box.
10. Play is fun.
Consider making it a priority to make a list of five things that sound really fun to you, then get out there and do one this week. Or, you can be like us dogs and make sure you play every single day!