I was reminded of the power of play this past weekend, and it was needed. I had become slightly disconnected from the concept of “having fun” in the business of work and obligations of parenthood, and I was grateful for the reminder.

One of my strengths is how I bring a certain urgency and energy to situations and projects – things get done and get done quickly.  On the same note, my focus on extreme productivity often filters my lens in a way that I lose a few silly, fun, and relaxed moments in the process.

What is the value in bringing a little lighthearted play into your stressful work and home situations? Doesn’t being silly just distract us from the ultimate goal and make things seem less important and urgent?

Not exactly- it can actually help you be more productive and maintain a better long term outcomes on a project or at home.

Running around goofy with your kids in the yard, cracking jokes in the hallway, laughing at that You Tube video of the baby laughing, or even doing one of those lighthearted team building activities before a meeting can really help you be a better mom, dad, leader, or coworker.

When you allow your brain and body to laugh, smile, and let go of the stressful outcome at hand (EX: cleaning the playroom or meeting that team deliverable deadline), you do a few things that help you and a few others:

You Shift Your Brain: By “priming” your brain to get a little boost of positivity or laughter, you not only lower your stress hormones, but you actually help your brain become a bit more effective at seeing more possibility and options that are actually available to you. Positively primed brains are actually able to filter more and explore more possibility.

Others Follow Suit: If you are a leader or influencer in your home or work, your quick shift into play can create an environment where people think, “It’s ok to be silly sometimes.” If they (employees or kids) feel it’s safe to be silly at times, you are actually going to help them be more positive and open to new ideas, as well.

You Become More Productive: You’ve probably heard people preach about how working long hours and skipping vacations is bad for your productivity, happiness, and overall quality of life. Well if you can’t turn off the “GET IT DONE!” in your head while your body is taking a break, you aren’t serving anyone. Letting go of things for a brief period helps your body take a breath and gather energy for the next string of stressful situations.

After taking some deliberate moments to “play” and relax this past weekend, I am committed to doing better at the last one- making my brain and body take breaks to relax and play when it’s clearly time to enjoy myself.  I’m committed to making my productive, action-focused self stop for a few moments, play with my kids, and really have fun without expectations.

Do you think you could do the same?