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This month, Vanessa King, of Action for Happiness and author of 10 Keys To Happier Living, suggests Play: How It Shapes The Brain, Opens The Imagination And Invigorates The Soul by Stuart Brown


Recently, I’ve become aware of a yearning to make something or draw – not for any aim or because I have any skill, I simply want to do them for the simple pleasure of it. Reading Brown’s book, I recognise that I have a growing urge to play.

Brown says play is good for us. It contributes to better health, relationships and creative thinking, and is an important component of a flourishing life. During play, we lose ourselves in something we’ve chosen to do because it’s enjoyable, not with a specific purpose. We can be spontaneous and improvise, absorbed in the moment. When we play, we feel freedom, power, absorption and joy. This drive is natural, says Brown, evident in children but suppressed as we grow up. As teenagers, we become self-conscious and inhibited and, as adults, life is so full of responsibility, play seems silly. We approach our leisure time, such as playing sport, as work rather than play, with goals such as getting fitter, for example.

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Psychologies March 2017 - Double Your Energy