Take time out to play. Play is so important for our well-being. It’s not just something that children need to learn and grow. It’s good for all of us. I have been reading a lot about play and was fascinated when I found Dr. Stuart Brown’s TED lecture.

Brown founded the National Institute for Play, which is “committed to bringing the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life.”  The Institute is looking for ways to integrate up-and-coming research on play into various educational, developmental and work contexts to help people in all kinds of ways.

Brown insists on the transformative power of play. So if you are looking for ways to change and heal your life, play is a good place to start. (And doesn’t require too much work other than finding the time for it!) He says that the opposite of play is not work, but depression. Play is integral to human happiness. Born by curiosity and exploration, it is an essential factor in honing our creativity—in finding and nurturing who we are at the deepest levels. With the intensity of everyday life and all our responsibilities and commitments, we need to take time to have fun and experience levity. Finding time that is unscheduled and unprogrammed is important. As we learn to play more, life becomes a great adventure, where we can experience something new and exciting in each moment. Play is key to renewing our lives and our selves. As we allow ourselves to play, we can truly be in the flow of the moment. The duality that is the habitual state of the mind can be transcended as we become one with what we are doing with no thought to what we were doing before or what we need to do after.

Brown collects and encourages people to review their Play Histories. He argues that as we explore backwards in our lives to the most clear, joyful and playful memory that we have, we can see how our experience of play connects to how we live our lives now. If we were play-deprived as children, it might have affected us developmentally both socially and mentally. As adults, it can restore us to ourselves by helping us connect and grow.

Try reviewing or journaling about your play history, and see not only what you learn about yourself, but also what you can do to connect with the transformative power of play.