boy in white tank top playing blue coupe die cast near brown wooden bench chair during daytime

Play: The fun behind good health

Good health is about being happy because being unhappy affects you whether you realise it or not. I say this because health is always presented as something you get when you stop having fun and the fun only comes after years of suffering. Yet the truth is that it’s the opposite because the pursuit of health is the pursuit of happiness.

That is a very big topic and so I have started to publish some articles exploring play as part of starting the discussion on its benefits to health. Some people have commented that they don’t understand the relevance to health which is a very good point. It’s not always as obvious as it should be and to fix that I thought I would introduce a little of the philosophy and value behind it so you can start seeing why getting healthy should be fun and if its not we need to figure out what is fun for you and find the health in that.

So, instead of forcing you to believe that happiness and health are separate things I will show you how they can work effortlessly together.

Life is to be lived and the modern world has the best entertainment we have ever seen. From TV to music to sport and trips. Literally everything you can imagine you can do in some way so why not live your life through fun.

Play is the highest form of research.

Albert Einstein

Life should feel like play. It should be fun and interesting. But you have to work hard to make it that way. You have to be fit and strong mentally, physically and emotionally. You have to play the game of life well. Know how to turn losses into draws and draws into wins.

This is about turning everything into fun. So it’s about naturally fun stuff like watching films and tv, playing more tennis and less obvious stuff like cooking, gardening, shopping. Just finding ways to add the fun at each point.

Those who play rarely, become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.

Stuart Brown, M.D.

What do I mean when I say Play?

For me play is a state of mind where you are just being you and accepting yourself for who you are. Getting away from the stresses of life and being as close to who you really are as possible. It’s basically the place that you regain your balance.

The pressures of life (compete) force you off balance and take from you because you have to do things to survive and get by. Play  is natures way of regaining your balance and thus your health because it is a state where you are at one with yourself instead of fighting yourself.

Play is different for everyone because for some, like me it’s chasing a ball whether it’s on a tennis court, football pitch or whatever and for some it’s shopping or visiting an art gallery, or even climbing a mountain!!! but that’s active play at its finest. Stuff people do entirely for themselves with no purpose other than fun.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation


The point is that you ask yourself what you really want to do and you find a way to do it. It’s a very broad topic and one you need to personalise and find what helps you regain you balance. I list House of cards here precisely because I find it so gripping. When I am stressed I find most TV shows don’t relax me because I think about my pressures but with House of cards they drift away and so the show brings about a state of play in me. The question is what things bring that state out in you?

The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.

Brian Sutton-Smith

Each article is simply a different way of getting into a mindset where the pressures of life take a back seat and you live your dreams in some tiny or potential epic way.  My play won’t be your play so I’m sharing to get you thinking about:

  • how much time you spend in a state of play?
  • what are the things that really relax you and make you happy?
  • how can you spend more time doing them?

The examples I explored recently included:

Want more?

Play is natures way of learning about life while taking the stress out of it. It helps you regain your balance from the continual pressures of getting stuff done (competing) and building a better your (creating) which is typically what gets you off balance.

The need for a bit of fun has been there in all cultures and ages and is expressed in an old expression

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

I’ve found the same to be true in health. If you don’t take the time to live life as you want to live it regardless of the pressures on you then you’re not really living and you’re not really healthy. Being good at playing in a way that adds to your life and adds to your health is one of the most important skills you can develop.

Which is why I have slowly been building up a bank of articles to help you do that.

I realised I haven’t really made it clear that there is a whole other resource dedicated to helping you have more fun so I thought I should fix that. To give you an idea of what you will find there here is a short list of articles that might interest you:

So that’s a short introduction to Play and how it helps you be happy and healthy. As always get in touch if you have any questions.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this post. Have a great day and find a moment to smile. Just for the sake of it so you can say something in your day made you smile. 🙂

Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.



Further references

A Ted talk on Why having fun is the secret to a healthy life.
  • How music heals us, even when it’s sad – by a neuroscientist leading a new study of musical therapy An in depth analysis of the research and practice using music to heal.
    • The debilitating consequences of stress, such as elevated blood pressure and muscle tension, can also be alleviated through the power of music.
    • Music was my profession, but it was also a special and deeply personal pursuit … Most importantly, it gave me a way to cope with life’s challenges, learning to channel my feelings and express them safely. Music taught me how to take my thoughts, both the pleasant and the painful ones, and turn them into something beautiful.
  • I’ve spent 20 years studying 100-year-olds—the world’s happiest people all share these 15 things in common
  • Miss devyn describes social gaming clubs
    • A mum who provides gaming-based school classes and social clubs for kids. 
    • She uses outschool and creates places for kids to have fun. 
  • The life sabbatical: is doing absolutely nothing the secret of happiness?
    • The focus is really on recovery, not rest. Doing something different to restore balance and allow you to recover
    • Many people often confuse rest with sitting down quietly. But given that many of us spend our working lives staring at a screen, for some, a better form of rest might involve listening to music or doing some form of movement. For some people, rest might involve embarking on a creative project, which allows them to express themselves in a new and different way.”
    • I discovered the work of physician and researcher Saundra Dalton Smith. Her Ted Talk explains that we actually need seven different types of rest: physical, mental, emotional, sensory, creative, social and spiritual.”
  • Under the Umbrella with Jo Heaume
    • When we stop playing we start dying. Mentioned in this episode from book called play. This is a great episode and covers play, eyfs and how to make kids love movement. 
    • Jo s kids went to school and were amazing at sports days but had not had any sports training. They had just played every day after school. 
    • I noticed that even a trained PE teacher did not understand the value that play gave to her own children. They are blind to the wider trends.
    • They mention book after book that I want to read. I could grab the show notes and find the books and also ask others if they have read the books and what they think of them 

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