THE BLOG
05/31/2016 11:33 am ET Updated Jun 01, 2017

3 Elements of Play That Make a Difference

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Growing up we all find unique and enjoyable ways to play. Our lives are full of games that help us to learn about the world around us and become more empathetic and enjoyable individuals to be around. Most of the time, play is a product of childhood, but it doesn't have to stop there.

When growing up, we can still continue to have a playful mindset and one that is focused on engaging in unstructured, free play. Because we all have a desire to be happier and more joyful, there are three elements of play that really make a difference.

The Three Contributors of Play

Everyone who goes through traditional schooling and the professional career finds that it can be overwhelming if one does not get some free time. These 3 elements and perspectives of play can help you to enjoy life more.

1. Spontaneity - As much security as we like to have (or say we like to have), we really love spontaneity as much or more. In one famous TED Talk by Tony Robbins, he mentions how humans need both variety and certainty in order to have a happy and fulfilling life. While we fight hard at work and with our family lives in order to have security, while we still crave spontaneous actions as well.

2. Gratitude - The second element of play that people often overlook is gratitude. When we are grateful for what we are doing, it can make a huge difference in how we choose to face the world. Suddenly, life becomes more playful and fun when we can cultivate gratitude even when times are difficult. Beyond helping you be more playful, gratitude can have many other downstream positive effects on your brain.

3. Trust - If you are going to play, you also have to have some trust. Especially when it comes to practices like AcroYoga or even slacklining. You must be able to face your fears in certain instances and enjoy yourself not in spite of, but because of the trust that you must maintain.

There are plenty other elements of play that can be introduced by adults, but it is good to start with these three. I include a morning journal of gratitude every day in order to get the day started. I often do some type of trust exercise (whether it is jiu-jitsu or another), and I'm spontaneous with the later part of my day once work is done.

In all, these things can serve me in the different ways that I need in order to help me be more playful, enjoy life, and be more fulfilled.