Let’s Pretend

Funny Chinese Child Playing Boy

Image by epSos.de via Flickr

Think back to when you were five years old. Remember the giant cardboard box that could be a house or car or spaceship or boat? Today, I was reminded of the endless creativity that used to be as natural as breathing. I was playing trains with my son and when we got the track together and I pushed the train around the track a few times, I thought, “Now what?”. My son, however, had no problem finding fun and creative ways to play. I often say that play is important, and I think of myself as a fairly playful person, but it is clear that I have a lot to learn.

Play is important to our health and wellbeing. Play helps us find creative solutions to grown-up problems. Spend anytime around a young child and you will notice how much more they laugh, and play and wiggle than adults.

There is an interesting thing that happens to us when we age. We laugh less, we play less and our thymus gland shrinks. The thymus gland is the master gland of our immune system. In children it is fairly large and identifiable, in adults it shrinks to the point where it cannot even be seen. The full function of the thymus is still being investigated, but it does appear to shrink during episodes of stress.

To me, it is clear, laughing and playing are crucial to our health. You can even feel it after a funny movie or a day at the amusement park. There is a lightness and pleasant feeling in our body. So, test it out in your life. The next time you are feeling under the weather, trying watching a funny movie, jumping in a pile of leaves, or laughter yoga. 🙂

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