The Playful Rx: Why Play is the Best Medicine

Once upon a time, in a galaxy not so far away, humans roamed the Earth, unaware of the incredible power of play. But fear not, for Dr. Stuart Brown and Dr. Jaak Panksepp, two wise and playful researchers, have come to the rescue. They've discovered that play is not just for kids and kittens; it's an essential part of being human. So, buckle up, and let's embark on a whimsical journey to explore the wonders of play.

Play is Important

Dr. Stuart Brown playing on a rope swing

First, let's talk about Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute for Play. Brown's extensive research has shown that play is not a luxury; it's a necessity for our well-being. It enhances our cognitive, emotional, and social development, making us smarter, happier, and more connected. In fact, Brown believes that play is so crucial to our health that he's even prescribed it to his patients. Imagine that, a playful prescription!

Play Reduces Stress

Dr. Jaak Pankseep with a rat

Next, we have Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist and psychobiologist who has studied the role of play in animals. Panksepp found that play is vital for the development of the brain's emotional systems, helping us to regulate our emotions and form social bonds. Play also releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and dopamine, which can reduce stress and anxiety. In other words, play is like a natural antidepressant, but without the side effects of a prescription.

Ready to Play?

Adults playing tag

Now, you might be thinking, "But I'm not a child anymore, and I have important adult things to do." Fear not, for play is for everyone, regardless of age. As Dr. Brown once said, "Play is the purest expression of love." It's a universal language that connects us all, whether you're building a sandcastle, playing a board game, or engaging in a friendly game of tag.

Let's Play!

two adults playing backgammon on a porch

So, the next time you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a page from Dr. Brown and Dr. Panksepp's playbook and engage in some good old-fashioned play. Your mind and body will thank you. And who knows, you might just rediscover the joy of being alive.