Mental Health

Your Brain on Play

Every time a child laughs and plays with his toys, there are connections being formed in the brain. While the pace that these connections are made slows over time, no matter how old you are, the brain still benefits from playing. There are a few reasons for this, but primarily play is used as a way of learning about the world around us.

As you will see in this article, one of the primary ways to improve your health and longevity is to play outside more. You’ll get fresh air, you’ll be active and exercise, but you’ll also have a huge change in your brain chemistry.

Your brain releases chemicals when you are playing called dopamine. These chemicals, along with endorphins, are responsible for making you feel relieved, stress free, and help you to improve your brain health in the short and long term. Most importantly, it is going to just make you feel great!

In addition to the good feelings that come from play, you’ll see many of the benefits we described above. Like children, you’ll be able to get a lot of good strong connections for your brain. Many of these are related to how you interact with other humans and a plethora of others.

When you play, just make sure that you are able to focus on doing things without a purpose. Sometimes play can become purposeful and competitive, which can often be the opposite of truly playing! If you are trying to incorporate more play in your life, look to your past to find things you truly enjoyed. You’ll find that most of these things are not just for kids and you can enjoy them plenty as an adult.

As one doctor, Stuart Brown, once said, a lack of play should be treated like starving or oxygen deprivation. It is one of the worst things that people can struggle with and yet most of the American population does every day!

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