Play and relationships

Play and relationships

Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. Playing together for the fun of it brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Play can also heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Through regular play, we learn to trust one another and feel safe. Trust enables us to work together, open ourselves to intimacy, and try new things.

Play helps us develop and improve our social skills

Social skills are learned in the give and take of play. Verbal communication
and body language, safety and danger, freedom and boundaries, cooperation and
teamwork: all are discovered and practiced repeatedly during infant and childhood play. We continue to refine these skills in adulthood through play and
playful communication.

Play teaches us how to cooperate with others

Play is a powerful catalyst for positive socialization. Through play,
children learn how to “play nicely” with others – to work together, follow
mutually agreed upon rules, and socialize in groups. As adults, play continues
to confer these benefits. Evidence even shows that play may be an antidote to
violence. In fact, those who avoid or have never learned to play may become lost
in the world of fear, rage, and obsessive worry.

Mutual play can heal emotional wounds

When adults play together, they are engaging in exactly the same patterns of
behavior that positively shape the brain in children. These same playful
behaviors that predict emotional health in children also lead to positive change
in adults. Studies show that an emotionally-insecure individual can replace
negative beliefs and behaviors with positive assumptions and actions by living
with a secure partner. Close, positive, and emotionally-fulfilling relationships
heal and create emotional resiliency. Play provides a safe and joyous context
for the development of such relationships.

Playfulness in Relationships

Mutual laughter and play are an essential component of strong, healthy
relationships. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humor and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your love
relationships- as well as your connections with co-workers, family members, and friends.

Read: Playful Communication in Relationships: The Power of Laughter, Humor, and Play

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