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Play to Relieve Stress

Pets~Play~and doing what we love CAN help to relieve and avoid stress.

Do you have a pet? If you do, does it make you feel good when you spend time with them? Pets are a great stress and anxiety reliever. Spending time petting and playing with your pets can certainly make you feel better. If you don’t own a pet, you can still get stress relief by spending time with a family member’s pet or visit an animal at a shelter as a volunteer. Doing something that will be helping an animal to live a fun, active life can help give you the feeling of accomplishment you’ll need as you work toward your stress-free life. People tend to talk to their pets. This helps to get our problems all out in the open. Animals can make great companions and can relieve the fear of being alone as well. Pets can help us relax and keep us reminded of the good and easy things in our lives. Pets can also help encourage us to exercise and be more playful, improve our mood and even lower our blood pressure. Studies have also shown that spending time with our pets reduces loneliness, stress, depression and even cholesterol. Spending time with pets could help take our minds off our problems. Taking a walk with your dog or sitting for 20 minutes petting your cat can give you a fresh perspective on things. When you play with your pet, your mind is temporarily free from your stressful thoughts and you have got new energy to go out and do other things now. If you make time each day to pet, walk or play with your pet, you will soon be able to handle stress better as it comes your way and even some things that used to cause you stress, will no more.

When we think about and focus on what it is that brings us joy, we can help activate our body’s natural calm response tool. This tool helps raise levels of joy. Once activated, it switches itself on when we need it and helps us relax in stressful situations. Does the word PLAY help remind you of happy times of childhood? It is so important that children don’t lose out on valuable playtime. But what about adults? Shouldn’t they take time to play too? The answer is YES and there are several reasons why. Playing has the power to reduce stress and offers us emotional, social and physical benefits, as well as health benefits. Playing teaches us enjoyment, fun and love of life. It helps us to manage our negative emotions and to transform them into something much more positive. Play also provides a relief to feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression, because it triggers endorphins in the brain, which are neurotransmitters that help produce a feeling of well being. Playing can also increase our self confidence and self esteem, allowing us to interact better with other people. Sharing laughter and enjoyment with others enhances our sense of community and helps us to develop trusting and compassionate relationships. There can also be physical benefits of playing. Depending on the type of physical playing you are doing like kicking a soccer ball around the park or flying a Frisbee, it is a great way to be outside getting some fresh air and it tends to be much more satisfying than going to the gym. Playing can help release energy and reduce tension, which can prevent the development of physical complaints. To start incorporating play into your life, you might need a few reminders, so here are some suggestions on what you could do to get off to a good start.

  • Remember what you loved doing as a child. If you were passionate about a certain sport, loved drawing, spent hours bike riding, or felt happy playing an instrument, try to pick up where you left off.
  • Get outside and enjoy some fresh air as much as possible. Just being outside can be enough to ignite that playful spark in you, or try heading to your local playground. Maybe you haven’t forgotten too much about how good it makes you feel to be on a swing.
  • Buy something to focus your play like a Frisbee, football, basketball, baseball, etc. This type of play is perfect for the whole family, and if you go to a park, you can encourage others to join in too.
  • don’t forget about board games. They can be a great way to liven up a family evening, especially in winter and be the perfect alternative to watching TV. You could even play cards or make a big puzzle.
  • Dancing and movement are great ways to play. Yoga or exercise classes can provide a structured way to play to music. You can also just put on your favorite music and dance right at your home sweet home.

Playing, laughing and having a good time with friends is very important. As we get older, we tend to put all our time and focus on home, family, work and forget to spend social time with friends. Even if you make time once a month to get together with a friend for coffee, lunch or to just ‘catch up’, it is really good for you. When we lose touch with friends, it is bad in many ways. If we end up losing the ability to socialize, we might even lose the feeling of being loved and appreciated outside of the home. Seeing our friends as often as we can to talk also helps us to work out some of the problems or situations that we may have been stressing about. If these friends are around the same age group as us, we may share in some of the same life changing events that are happening to us and them. Being able to discuss something with someone else who might be experiencing the same thing will actually help us to feel better about the situation, knowing that ‘you’re not alone’ in this.

To relieve and avoid having too much stress in our lives, we must do something that will occupy our minds and make us feel good. If you enjoy reading, writing, collecting something, taking pictures, scrap-booking, painting, drawing, etc. These are things you should make the time to do for yourself.

Don’t tell yourself that you have no time to do these things. Right now, all we have is time. There are no guarantees. Why not feel good and happy while we still have the chance to? Don’t wait till tomorrow what you can do today. Play is nature’s answer to stress. When we don’t take the time to laugh and play, we are setting ourselves up for long term, potentially serious problems, that could take years to recover. The combination of relieving stress and putting some time in your life to play will help you eventually come back to be the person you used to be.

This article is written by Cynthia Joy Maurice. Cynthia is a Life Design & Holistic Wellness Specialist. For your convenience she provides consultations and services at 4 locations in the Myrtle Beach, SC area; as well as in the comfort of your home or online. To contact Cynthia, please call 843-465-7138 or email her at findyourjoys@thejoys.us

 

About Cynthia Maurice

Providing Stress, Pain & Life Management Solutions with Personalized Wellness Therapeutic & Support Programs.

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