April 5, 2016

How Play Fosters Resiliency & Connection.

women jogging on beach exercise fun

Over Easter, we had an Easter egg hunt for adults.

The adults all put in $50.00 per person for a jackpot that totaled $250.00.

I was the bunny and hid the eggs to the best of my ability. Of course, the golden egg needed to be the biggest challenge. As the adults scrambled around laughing, giggling, jumping up and down sweating away to the Easter egg challenge, I realized just how vital everyone looked.

A vital person vitalizes others. We need to play like this more often.

I recalled the saying families who play together stay together

Recent studies report that unstructured play for children is astonishingly important for children to succeed as adults—it can help them learn to be more resilient and adaptable.

Life is unpredictable—we need to be able to adapt or we could drown in a depressive state of defeat.

Dating is so much fun because couples play together. My fiancée taught me to scuba dive, water ski, mountain biking, road biking, rock climbing, and to hike the Grand Canyon. I had to train for our vacations.

So, when my fiancée suddenly died in a plane crash (I was the sole survivor), I was devastated, alone, and doubting my ability to get through it all. At the time of his death, I was in a state of transition. I had no job, a mangled body, and my children were leaving the nest.

I was spiralling downward in a deep state of “Why me? I can’t do this.”

After my body healed, I decided to run a marathon. I joined with some girlfriends and the leukemia team in training. What a great way to grieve the loss. I was surrounded by good friends and creating new friends. We played together to raise money and train. I had to raise $3,000 dollars for leukemia and run a marathon.

If we focus on what is new and fun, we won’t be so focused on what was.

In my despair, I had forgotten what one of the most important things that my fiancée had taught me—he had taught me the power of play.

I watched the PBS TV series that aired in 2010 titled This Emotional Life. It showed that approximately two-and-a-half minutes of a couple working together on an obstacle course helped the couples connect. After the obstacle course, the couple reported feeling much more connected and loving toward one another.

And that was only after two minutes.

If couples play together, they probably have a better chance of staying together.

After we finished our Easter egg hunt, there was so much talk about next year’s event, including possibly increasing the jackpot amount. We took some family pictures with my daughter’s individual families and my new grand babies.

My daughter was quite affectionate towards her husband. She leaned over and gave him a kiss—I haven’t seen that in a while. I imagined how much richer our lives could be together as a family if we chose to focus on play versus problems.

Imagine if we all focussed on playing together with our spouses, family and friends. To connect, we need to pay attention to each other—and playing together is a fun way to offer that attention.






Author: Pamela Chambers

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Mike Baird at Flickr 

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Pamela Chambers