How do you start your day? I start mine by playing…

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 Children and play

Have you ever observed how children wake up and just play?  How they start their day quietly exploring, happy and content in their own company?

It’s something we adults can learn from.  For most of our lives we’ve been domesticated away from playing when really, the practice of quietly playing can set you up for the day, and regular breaks to play or just watch the clouds in the sky can make SUCH a difference in your day.

Whether you like to play Angry Birds (like former British Prime Minister David Cameron), Candy Crush (like PSU CEO Neroli Jones) or build Lego like Soccer Icon David Beckham, play doesn’t just reduce stress and contribute to overall wellbeing, it’s an incredibly rich mindfulness tool.

Let’s keep this quiet play separate from physical play – we’re talking about starting your day mindfully, but in a way that is light and playful.  Physical play is a separate topic, here we’re talking about mind play rather than body play…

Play as a mindfulness tool

There’s a huge amount of psychology research material around the importance of play for both children and adults, but much of it focuses on the benefits and positive outcomes relating to stress, relationships and wellbeing etc.

What hasn’t been well documented is how play relates as a mindfulness tool.  When I play candy crush in the mornings I just love it.  It’s a quiet part of my day where I’m just me, not a wife / mother / grandmother / CEO and business owner – just me and the game.  Each level of the game has a purpose, and for each game I set an intention and I celebrate the outcome.  As I play I observe myself – why am I choosing to make that move?  What is motivating me?  Am I playing for more of the positives or fighting the negatives?  What elements in this game can I see reflected in my day – ie is this game about precision and alignment or is it more about expansion and conversion?

And as I play I am stimulated by these questions as well as by the colours, the spatial reasoning and the wisdom that comes with my observations.  Every next step I take in that game clearly adds up to a result and each one is completed with utter joy.  I learn from the losses and I know when I’m stuck on a level for a spell that it will be reflected somewhere else in my life – somewhere I feel ‘stuck’ but with that awareness can now ‘unstick’.  Play reveals thought and can be incredibly illuminating in a way that thinking something through often can’t reach or quite connect to.

At the end of my play I’m ready to be a part of the world and later when I meditate, I already have insight into the intention I will set for the day that is mine to create.

So you see, I don’t switch off when I play, I switch on…

What do you play?  Please write in and share what starts your day and why it’s so great?

 

 

Neroli Jones 

Personal Life Coach;  Founder and CEO Paradigm Switch

 

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