The secret to happiness and success

I have a secret… Something that will allow you to be your dream weight without any pain or crazy dieting, this same thing will make you more productive in your work, make you more money, will strengthen your relationships and give you better quality of life.

What is this “miracle” secret… if you laugh we’re on the right track, if you smile we’re on the right track if you’re face remains serious if you’re sceptical then you need to read on for my secret is… Play.

It is becoming more and more prevalent in research that play from childhood through to adulthood play’s a very important role in our development and that we need to take it seriously. From birth we are involved with social play, those cheeky smiles that parents give to a baby assists in attuning the right cerebral cortex which organizes emotional control. We have a lost a key component in communication with one another by minimizing the amount of play we’re involved in. It’s sad to see that children these days have so little imaginations, what are we teaching them? Technology is the only source of entertainment? Money buys love and happiness? What is social interaction now? Are we losing the ability to communicate with each other face to face? Walking down the street I see people stare at their phones, if you smile or say hi they’re confused.
There have been studies into the psychiatry of murders showing that as children they grew up in an abusive environment and were involved in minimal play.

Social play is how we bond with one another, make a joke, a facial expression, touch. Sex is a form of play we build a closeness an intimate bond of trust with one another. If we don’t learn these foundations as children the way we socially interact with a partner, a boss, a friend a stranger whoever it is, it’s lost.

Play is a way of experimenting, we learn to problem solve, we learn how to share. Are these qualities we need as adults as well? Of course. It is a source of exploration for movement, adjusting the body to avoid injury, recruitment of appropriate muscle groups to perform tasks. When the freedom of play is taken away we forget how to simply listen to or bodies for answers. If you do a gym class does the instructor tell you what muscles are being used? What happened to tuning into your body, feeling, making decisions or adjustments naturally? Stop overthinking everything and simply find your flow and rhythm, by doing this you can relax into the task or movement. When I was younger I’d go for a run and be thinking of it as work, and I would fatigue quickly. In comparison I would run and play with my dog and could do this for so long without thinking of my breath or looking at is as work. I let go and “played” allowing my breath to be rhythmic and relaxed, my body to move naturally and to be joyous in what I was doing. You will feel you’re most fit and healthy when you let go and just have fun with it.

Play is a way of releasing stress or tension, it not only excites us and is a way to release endorphins otherwise known as “happy hormones.” Studies by researcher Jean Twenge suggest that the number of children and adults who are suffering from depression is rising, children are being forced to act more like adults taking on more stress and responsibility. They are not engaging in enough intrinsic motivation, the ability to find joy through oneself which then influences how they can self-relax, entertain and learn.

How to play.
– Find joy in everything you do
– Communicate with people verbally and physically
– Be spontaneous
– Play does not have to be a structured game or take long simply jump up in the air, do things “just because”
– By simply playing and letting go you discover yourself and what makes you happy
– Explore and discover
– Be intuitive listen, and learn from people, objects, and environment. Look at every experience as a gift.

Play at any age
Play at any age





Look at your life and ask yourself… Are you having fun yet?

If you’d like to find out more about the science of play check out The National institute of play

Published by jdv05

I'm an Exercise Scientist leading Personal Training and active tours around Parks Victoria protected spaces of Warburton and the Mornington Peninsula. A lover all things movement, incorporating nature into our sessions and personal workouts. I spent 2014 in Japan working as a tour guide and researching trails and writing active trips for both Australia and Japan. I enjoy competing in fun runs and trail runs, with my favourite being the Two Bays trail run. You can check out some of my workouts and fitness tips on my personal blog, Qualifications include: Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science, Certificates III and IV in fitness, Level 1 instructor in Mat Pilates, Wild fitness trainer, Level I and II boxing instructor, Surf instructor.

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