The difference between a dog and a wolf is that the instant a wolf reaches maturity, he no longer plays.
His ears stand upright. His teeth grow longer. He fights to become the alpha male of his pack. He never lets his guard down. Survival and strength are his life. And if you meet a wolf in the woods, you’re in trouble.
A dog, however, plays his entire life. Though biologically similar to wolves, a dog can be trampled by a toddler without waking from a snooze. His ears hang down, his teeth are less sharp. And if you find a dog in the woods, he’s likely just out for a walk or chasing a squirrel.
With play comes sensitivity, empathy, and compassion.
In his book, Play, Stuart Brown reveals a little-known trait he discovered in mass murderers – that is, people who kill large numbers at once. Were they missing a frontal cortex like serial killers? Were they abused as children? What made them commit such horrible crimes?
For years, there didn’t seem to be a common denominator. Until Brown realized it came down to play – or lack thereof.
Just like a wolf, people become rigid, heartless, and reckless without play. Deprive kids of play and you get all kinds of ill-adjusted adults from those with no (or poor) social skills all the way up to heinous criminals.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m not worried about you turning to a life of crime. But it’s time to take a long, hard look at how (and how much) you play.
Drawing, painting, travel writing, telling jokes, dancing – these can all be good ways to get more play in your life.
And here are a few more ways to add play time to your day:
- Play a prank on someone…
- Tell a joke at the grocery store to anyone who will listen…
- Go to Youtube and search for: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Watch it and make your own character and script…
- Invite a few close friends over, drink wine, and then mute your TV. Make up lines for what the people on the screen are saying…
- Host a game night…
- Host a theme party — crazy hat party or dress in the 60s…
- Daydream – just thinking about play can be enough they say…
- Take a craft or home improvement class at Michael’s or Home Depot. Show your excitement in class and to others when you get home…
- Go on an adventure…
- Check out a comedy show…
- Try what Christina, here in our office, does. She speaks with a new foreign accent every day at 4:00. She doesn’t tell anyone. She just speaks in that accent when asked a question. It’s comical.
Regular play times should:
- Reduce stress
- Increase energy
- Inspire creativity
- And help you with problem-solving
But notice, too, if it:
- Decreases your headaches,
- Reduces your blood pressure medication,
- Controls anxiety and
- Stunts weight gain
… because all of those things are side effects of lack of play, too.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]