Playing

1 April 2015 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Filed Under: Mindful Eating

When was the last time you played an innocent practical joke or prank on someone? When was the last time you were having so much fun that you forgot to eat? We used to do this a lot as kids, but somewhere between childhood and becoming adults, we stop playing and become more serious…

Lately the only playtime I have had is with my dogs and I notice that when I am not playing, my fun turns into jelly tots and M&M’s.

As we get older with more responsibilities, we lose our ability to play. Sadly, our society doesn’t take play for adults seriously – play is often seen as unproductive and when we do play, we often tend to feel guilty about doing nothing!

By now you are probably wondering what playing has to do with mindful eating?

Have you noticed that when children are really involved in playing, meals become an irritating interruption to play time?

When we eat emotionally it really is a sign that something is missing in our lives. Often we eat for comfort, because we are bored, stressed or unhappy. In those moments food is not what we crave, what we need is connection, compassion, fun or rest.

How can play help with overeating?

Play allows us to thrive. It energizes and rejuvenates us. When we play, we are in a state of flow and totally in the moment. When we are in the moment we don’t tend to stress. Playing releases endorphins, relieves stress and increases positive feelings. When we are feeling positive, we tend to overeat less because we are having so much fun that food becomes less important!

In his book “Play”, psychiatrist Stuart Brown says that when we play we are in a “state of being”, the focus is not on achieving a goal but on the actual experience in the moment. In other words, it becomes purposeless and pleasurable.

A question I often ask my clients is: “how much fun are you having?” Then we talk about what would be fun for them… Drawing, painting, daydreaming, flirting, cooking, time in nature, scrapbooking…

There are so many benefits to playing:

  • It’s energizing.
  • Playing releases stress.
  • We lose track of time.
  • Through play we get out of our thinking mind.
  • When we are in that state of flow, ideas and solutions come to us.
  • Play creates fun and joy and brings in creativity.

May your Easter weekend be mindful, playful and fun!

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” – Carl Jung

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