Awesome Action Friday – PLAY!

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Our lives are filled with so many responsibilities.  We have obligations to our jobs, spouses, children, pets, homes, volunteer organizations, churches, and the list goes on.  We work hard all week long.  Often times the weekend comes and goes, and our time was spent managing the details of life and attending to our responsibilities.

WE WORK HARD!

So we’d better make sure we PLAY HARD too!

I decided to google the definition of weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is not only defined as “the period from Friday evening through Sunday evening” but also included “regarded as a time for leisure“.  If a weekend is intended to be a time for leisure, which is really just a grown up word for play, then we need to make sure we are making time to play….and to play hard!

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PRACTICE RANDOM ACTS OF AWESOMENESS

PLAY!!!  The awesome action challenge is to have a weekend with intentional PLAY time!

Playing is not the same as relaxing.  To play is a verb, which means “to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose”.  What a powerful definition!  I think I need to post that on my kitchen wall as a constant reminder.

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Be silly, be childlike, be uninhibited…..just PLAY!

  • Have a bubble gum blowing contest
  • Walk in the rain and jump barefoot in puddles
  • Go for a bike ride, and make a detour at the ice cream shop
  • Have a water balloon fight (or use Silly String)
  • Put 1 marsh-mellow in your mouth at a time, and say “Chubby Bunny” after each one
  • Turn your favorite music up really loud, and dance like no one is watching

What do you LOVE to do?

What brings you JOY?

What puts a SMILE on your face?

What gives you a belly LAUGH?

What makes you feel like a KID again?

Whatever it is – make it a priority to do it this weekend!  Plan some PLAY time into your life!

*Awesome Action BONUS*

Want to play really hard?  Double your play time!  However much time you were intending to dedicate to playing, double it!  While you’re at it, go ahead and schedule your PLAY time for next weekend too!

I’d love to hear from you!  How are you going to PLAY this weekend?

with Joy & Gratitude,

Laughter IS the Best Medicine!

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After a brief google search on the value of laughter I was bombarded with a plethora of literature that supports the belief that there is healing power in humor and that laughter has a positive (and quantifiable) effect on our health and well being.

Since this is a blog and not a term paper or scientific publication, that’s where my research of the literature ends!  Thankfully I have plenty of personal experience and will tap into my wealth of knowledge from over forty years of laughing.

From my personal life analysis (aka – over-thinker in action), I’ve noticed two distinct types of laughter which I’ve named humor-laughter and joy-laughter.  Humor-laughter is a reaction to an outside force, to someone doing or saying something funny that solicits our laughter.  Humor-laughter could be called ‘thinking man’s’ laughter since it requires intelligence and understanding of a situation.  It is typically in response to a comedian, a television sitcom, a comedy based movie or maybe a practical joke on a friend.

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Joy-laughter originates from within, is person specific and can’t be predicted.  Joy-laughter feels like a flood of joy that has no other way to be expressed than through laughter.  It requires no thought process, rather it is an innate expression of emotion that can be witnessed as early as infancy.

Children laugh often and with ease!  They smile, giggle, chuckle, and belly laugh – sometimes for what appears to be no reason at all.  They are children and they are filled with the simple joys of life which are expressed in their joy-laughter.  As they transition through childhood into a teenager and young adult, they begin to experience many of life’s challenges.  Life becomes filled with expectations, responsibilities and results – all of which interfere with one’s ability to experience joy-laughter.

I can’t speak for each of you, but I know as I grew up I let life get way too serious, and over time I lost my joy-laughter!  But why?  Why do we let something so crucial to our existence slip away?  What’s the relationship between children and joy-laughter that disappears in adulthood?

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It was 1998 and Ben was 2 years old when I rediscovered my joy-laughter.  In the heat of the summer, our toddler playgroup met weekly at the local water park to stay cool while the kids played and the moms enjoyed some adult conversation.  On this particular day one of the moms proposed the idea that we take turns watching each others children while a few of us did some playing of our own – on the big water slides.

When it was finally my turn, I cautiously placed the inner tube at the top of the slide, rested my rear end in the donut hole and as my feet dangled over the edge of the tube, the ride attendant gave me a brisk nudge.

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It couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 seconds before I started hooping and hollering, which quickly turned into a deep belly laugh….followed by non stop giggling all the way to the bottom of the ride.  When my tube came barreling into the holding pool my laugh was drowned out by splashing water, but I could tell from the looks on the bystander’s faces that my laughter had been loud enough to attract attention.

On my walk back to the play group I was astonished by how foreign that laughter had felt.  I tried to recall the last time I had laughed that freely and joyfully, but all the memories I pulled from took place in my childhood and teen years.  What I suddenly noticed was the association between PLAYING and JOY-LAUGHTER.  No wonder children laugh often and with ease – they are always playing!  Perhaps it is no surprise that many of us lose our instincts for joy-laughter as we grow up because we slowly abandon the importance of playing in our ‘Oh-So-Serious’ lives!

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The solution to having more joy-laughter in our lives is quite easy – just PLAY!   Playing can be as simple as a pillow fight (I prefer a water balloon fight) or as extravagant as a day at an amusement park (I LOVE roller coaster rides).  Playing gives us time to reconnect with the ‘child’ in each of us, and the resulting joy-laughter feeds our soul!  Make time to play, to do the things that elicit YOUR joy-laughter.

with Joy & Gratitude,