Am I just talking out my ass?

monty python

I have been known to do that, but in this case I am not.  I know of three studies that psychologists have done that show the connection between being playful and life enhancing characteristics.

The first one I read is “The virtuousness of adult playfulness: the relation of playfulness with strengths of character” by Rene’ T. Proyer and Willibald Ruch.  Just recently I have read:  “THE PLAYFUL ADVANTAGE: HOW PLAYFULNESS
ENHANCES COPING WITH STRESS by CALE DAVID MAGNUSON” as well as “The well-being of playful adults: Adult playfulness, subjective well-being, physical well-being, and the pursuit of enjoyable activities” by Rene’ T. Proyer.

Proyer and Ruch conclude in The Virtuousness of adult playfulness:  The findings were in line with expectations and are discussed within a broader framework of research in playfulness in adults. The results indicate that playfulness in adults relates to positive psychological functioning and that more studies further illuminating the contribution of playfulness to well-being in adults are warranted.  Creativity, Zest, and Hope are a few of the correlations.

Magnusen in a very long and thorough dissertation shows how people who generally have a playful frame of mind deal with difficult situations with less stress. In the conclusion he states: “Since playful individuals reach into their toolbox more often than those who are less playful, one might assume that this is a result of consistently higher levels of perceived stress. However, a better explanation may be that playful individuals more readily and swiftly employ effective coping styles whenever faced with stressors, effectively rendering them innocuous. It seems to be the case that coping is simply a more natural behavior for the playful individual, especially since both coping and playfulness are similar in their cognitive-emotional attributes. As a result, it comes as no surprise that the results showed playful individuals to experience less perceived stress.” One of the reasons is this group of people find it easier to re-frame the experience.

The Last article by Proyer concludes that playful people have a greater sense of well-being.  He begins his conclusion with:  ” The main aim of the present study was describing how playfulness in adults relates to physical and psychological well-being as well as the pursuit of enjoyable activities. The findings are encouraging in the sense of support for a positive association between playfulness and different indicators of well-being. The relations of playfulness with life satisfaction, the cognitive aspect of subjective well-being, replicated earlier findings well (Proyer 2012c). Overall playfulness in the sense of an easy onset and high intensity of playful experiences along with the frequent display of playful activities (SMAP) as well as four out of the five facets of the Adult Playfulness Scale (APS) demonstrated positive relations with life satisfaction (r2 was between .03 and .18).”

Putting the three of these together I can see that being playful is not only fun, but . . it’s good for you.  Sometimes it even allows you to be amused by Monty Python’s Flying Circus.    🙂

So get out there and play

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