Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Playful: A Guide To Your Emotions
Published Apr 20th, 2021 & updated on Dec 7th, 2021
Hear us out…life is 1000x better when we feel playful, isn’t it? It’s the child-like, care-free part of ourselves that we don’t get to unleash very often. When we’re playful, we like to get a lil’ silly. We crack jokes and laugh. We don’t have a caaare in the world! Yeah sure, work is important too…but you know how the saying goes: all work and no play makes everything seem pretty fucking dull (no, that’s not the exact quote but we’re gonna roll with it anyway).
If you’re feeling playful right now and wanna learn more about how this emotion impacts your mental wellbeing, then you’ve come to the right place! Let’s dive thru feeling playful, ‘cause it’s a super underrated emotion that we should defs appreciate to the fullest.
A Deeper Look At Feeling Playful
So, feeling playful. What’s that like? APA Dictionary defines playfulness as: “n. the tendency to see the light or bright side of life, to joke with others, and not to take matters too seriously. Playfulness is considered to be a foundation of humor.” Side note: wouldn’t Foundation of Humor make a great indie band name? Ok, back to the point.
When we think of feeling playful, or the word ‘play’ in general, what typically comes to mind? For a lot of us, we probably associate playfulness with being a kid. But really though, all kids know is running around the playground, dressing up, playing games and making up stories. So of course they’re the epitome of playfulness: their whooole life is about play!
For adults, though? Yeah, playtime doesn’t come so easily for us, and it’s not just for lack of trying. Hellooo, we’ve got responsibilities! Places to be! Bills to pay! Who’s got the time for, ya know…fun or whatever. But we’re here to remind you that feeling playful is possible in everyday life, even for busy and hardworking badasses such as yourself! Sure, you’ve probably got a lot on the go. Chances are, you can’t just drop work or school at a moment’s notice to run away on a fun trip (it’s okay to admit you fantasize about it sometimes tho)!
Tapping into that playful side of yourself is great for your mental wellbeing and can help you let go of some of that stress, anxiety or burnout you might be struggling with. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at all of the benefits!
How Feeling Playful Shows Up Mentally
When we’re feeling playful, this feeling is rooted in one very key emotion. Can you take a guess? This should be an easy one. *drumroll* It’s happiness! You got it: having fun and connecting with our own playfulness has a positive effect on our overall mental wellbeing. Here are some positive symptoms you might notice when you give yourself the freedom to play:
- Lifts your mood
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases attentiveness and focus
- Boosts productivity
- Sparks creativity
- Improves analytical skills
- Promotes good thoughts
- Increases motivation
Quick science lesson that you’ve probably heard before but we’re gonna say it again: our brains release the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin throughout the body when we feel happy. So get playful and let those happy hormones fly!
How Feeling Playful Shows Up Physically
Surprise! Feeling playful also has great physical benefits too. Who knew?! Since playfulness is tapped into those happy hormones released in the brain, our body is gonna follow suit. Here are some great physical benefits, if ya wanna see for yourself:
- Reduces cortisol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens immune system
- Provides better sleep
- Improves digestion
- Reduces pain
- Lengthens lifespan
Sooo, what we’re understanding here is…happy people live longer? Don’t worry, we’re not just telling you: “Hey, just be happy! Then all of your problems will just go away! It’s easy!” What we ARE saying is that yes, life can be shitty sometimes. But let’s not take ourselves so seriously, even when it’s really hard. Embrace that silly side of yourself who likes to laugh, play and enjoy the little things! Which brings us to our next point…
5 Ways To Embrace Feeling Playful
Now let’s get to the best part: some strategies for embracing your playful side! We promise this isn’t like homework or anything. We’re trying to have fun here, remember?! So try some of these practices out for yourself and unleash that playful side of you that’s been waiting to come out!
1. Move Your Body
We’ve got one word for you: endorphins. We know that exercise boosts endorphins, which make you happy! Even if physical activity isn’t your fave thing, there’s lots of fun ways to get active. Go for a walk, run, swim, bike, rock climbing, yoga, you name it. Dance around your room to a fun playlist like nobody’s watching, if that’s more your style! Whatever way you like, just get movin’ and groovin’. It’s worth it!
2. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk
Like we said before, finding our playful side can be a challenge. Especially when you’re stuck in the same routine, same responsibilities, blah blah blah. But news flash: you’re not a boring person! You never were, nor will you ever be. You might just need to shake things up! Try these compassionate self talk phrases: I have a hard time finding my playful side sometimes but that’s okay. I can get through this rut. My life isn’t all about work or other responsibilities. I can get shit done, and still have fun! (Hey that rhymed!)
3. Connect With A Friend
One of the best things about feeling playful is sharing that upbeat energy with your best pals! When was the last time you goofed around? Here’s an idea: plan a fun night with zero discussion about work, school or any other stressors in your life right now. Friends are great for venting but why not dedicate a whole day/night to let go of all of the heavy shit and just have fun?! Give each other wild makeovers, make up a funny song or have a dance party in your living room. The goofier the activity, the better!
4. Engage In Something Creative
Another great way to channel your playfulness? Gettin’ creative is a great method! Try your hand at drawing, sketching, doing calligraphy or painting. Write poems or stories. Practice an instrument, sing, dance! Feeling playful can help break down some of the walls you might put up around yourself. This a fun zone and a judgement-free zone! You get to be creative however you like.
5. Practice Gratitude
Showing gratitude for the things that bring us happiness and provide us with tons of energy?! Yeppp, that’s the best! Gratitude can look like simply taking notice of the good things in life and showing them appreciation. That might involve writing a list of things that bring you joy, volunteering in your community, or showing acts of kindness to the people who make your life better. Whatever it may be, gratitude feels great for everyone!
That’s it, that’s all for now. We hope these tips help you embrace your playful side and encourage you to have a lil’ bit of fun now and then. Trust us, it’s good for you!