It’s not easy to be playful when we’re all so caught up in the stresses of everyday life as well as all of the serious problems in the world. Still, anyone can make more time for laughter, games, and a more positive perspective in life. Being more playful will reduce your level of stress and will make you look at the world in a more optimistic light. So how do you do it? Quit playing around and follow these steps.
Spend more time learning from kids.
Spending more time with children is the easiest way to become more playful. You should play with them not with the goal of teaching them more about life, but to learn more from them by watching how they approach and look at life. Children look at everything with curiosity, excitement, and joy, and you should learn to approach life in this more playful manner.
If you don’t have kids of your own, try volunteering with children, or spending more time with children of your friends or relatives. Obviously, you shouldn’t just go out and approach a stranger’s kid.
Play with a pet.
If you have a dog or a cat or know a friend who does, then spend more time playing with animals. Whether you’re walking a dog or tossing a ball to it, or playing around with your cat and a feather toy, playing with animals alters your perspective and makes you approach life in a more playful and less structured way. You can even work as a dog walker or spend time cat-sitting for a friend to be around animals more. If you really like the animals idea, volunteer at an animal shelter.
Being around non-humans can help you take some of the structure out of your life and to approach things in a less regimented way.
. Go take salsa or Zumba lessons, or just hit up the clubs with your friends. Toss your hair around and dance to some completely silly or ridiculous music. It’s not about looking good — it’s about feeling good, and the more you dance, the more you’re able to let loose, feel relaxed, and generally let go of your inhibitions, the more playful you’ll become.
Doing a dance with specific moves, such as “The Dougie,” “The Cupid Shuffle,” or even “The Harlem Shake,” can make you let go even more as you get caught up in the moment of the dance moves.
You absolutely do not have to be a good dancer to be playful in this way!
Being able able to laugh at yourself around others is an important way to be playful. If you’re always so serious about yourself and can’t step back and admit when you’ve made a fool of yourself, made a silly comment, or just did something unintentionally hilarious, then you’ll never be able to be playful. Being able to laugh at yourself will make people see that you’re fun to hang around with, and that you’re not a stick-in-the-mud who is determined to act in a serious way 100% of the time.
Being able to laugh at yourself will also help you relax, which will make you more playful.
Look for humor or irony even in uncomfortable situations.
Laugh at yourself.
If you’re hanging out with good friends and are in the middle of a mock-argument, try softly hitting or pushing each other. This works best if you’re walking around, on a beach, or sitting in a park somewhere — probably not at a restaurant or a formal event. Just softly hitting your friends if the mood is right can help you relax and be more playful in your approach to life and friendships.
Make sure you know the other person well enough and that the hitting is reciprocated, though.
Softly hit people.
Being able to tease people is an important part of being playful. This means knowing people well enough to be able to make fun of their little foibles, from their obsession with chocolate to their clumsy nature. As long as the teasing isn’t mean-spirited or over the top, being able to tease people and to be teased in return will make you a more playful person.
The more you tease people, the more you’ll know where their boundaries are.
Teasing people will remind you that you should be more playful and not take life too seriously.
Tease your friends lightly.
Tickle fights are another great way to be more playful in your everyday life. If you have a child, then this is a prime target for a tickle fight. Your significant other is a great target, too. A good friend can be a great target as long as you find the right time and the other person is into it. Sitting back, having fun, and trying to tickle the person you’re with is another great way to be playful.
Again, make sure you’re comfortable with the person you’re tickling before you begin.
Get in a tickle fight.
Making a goal of playing more games in your life is a great way to be more playful. Getting people together for a game night, or spontaneously introducing a game to your friends when you’re hanging out, is a great way to do something different and to make your social life a bit different and more playful. Have you tried big booty? What about musical chairs? Or drown the penny?
Other games you could try include Risk, charades, Simon Says, Twister, board games, and magic tricks.
You can also try making games out of everyday activities. For example, if you and your partner regularly cook dinner at home, challenge them to a cook-off to see who can make the best version of your favorite food.
Playing sports without taking them seriously is a great way to be more playful and to spend more time with your friends. If you have a good relationship with your colleagues or just want to have one, try to organize a weekly or monthly bowling night, or get your co-workers to join a softball league with you. Join a sports team outside of school or just get a good friend to play tennis or basketball with you.
Playing more sports makes you less concerned about work and will make you a more playful person overall.
Get involved in more sports.
Don’t be a sore loser! There’s no reason to take anything personally. When you get too concerned about being proper and polite, you lose a great deal of playfulness and humor. If you accidentally say something inappropriate, be ready to genuinely apologize. But in playing there’s a certain amount of competitiveness and teasing that creates an exciting tension.
Be a good sport.
Everyone loves a joke, no matter how corny it is. If you want to be more playful, then learn some corny jokes and test them out on people. As long as you’re not too serious when you tell them and make it clear that you know you’re being silly, the jokes will be taken the right way; if people don’t laugh, they’ll at least groan at your attempt to make a joke, whether it involves a pun or a silly reference. You can try knock knock jokes, ice-breakers, short anecdotes, or really whatever floats your boat.
Try this one. Loudly say, “Polar bear!” When your friends stare at you, just shrug and say, “What? I’m just trying to break the ice!”
How about the reverse-knock knock joke? Tell your friend that you have a great knock-knock joke, and then say, “Okay, you start.” Your friend will say, “Knock-knock,” and you can say, “Who’s there?” Then, you can laugh as you see how confused your friend gets when he realizes he doesn’t have an answer.
Tell goofy jokes.
Music can be a great way to let loose and decrease stress. Find a few minutes each day where you can add some music into your routine. Maybe you have a favorite song you can whistle at work, or maybe you love to sing in the shower. You can even have a dance party with yourself whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Add some music to your everyday routine.
Step outside your house and make a goal of walking for half an hour in a direction that you’ve never gone before. See what you notice on your way out, and make a game of seeing how many dogs, fire hydrants, two-story houses, or certain kinds of flowers you spot. Don’t talk on the phone or think about work while you’re walking; try to take in the scenery as much as you can.
You can bring your phone with you, but only if it keeps you from getting lost!
Take a walk without a destination.
Don’t create art with the goal of selling it or impressing others. Tell yourself that you’re making something for yourself and yourself only. You can make a sculpture of your cat, write a short story about your childhood, write your own limerick, or sing a song about your least favorite vegetable. Oil or water painting is another great way to create fun or meaningful art. Turn off your phone, computer, or any other distractions that will keep you focused on creating the art.
Set aside at least two hours to do it. Really focus on your creation and nothing else.
Create art for yourself.
Put a magnetic poetry set on your refrigerator. Every morning, create a new poem with the borrowed words. Doing this as you’re just waking up will make you more alert, get your creativity juices flowing, and will make you feel more playful throughout the day. If you don’t have the time to write a new poem every morning, try to write one every Sunday morning to keep you going throughout the week.
If a friend comes over, encourage him or her to mix your words around.
Make magnetic poetry.
This is a great way to keep yourself from taking the world too seriously. It’s also a great stress-reliever if you’re in the middle of an intense situation and need to take a breather for a few minutes. Just stare at yourself in the mirror, and make at least four funny faces at yourself, whether you’re sticking out your tongues, snarling, bugging out your eyes, or gritting your teeth, until you make yourself crack up.
If you have a friend who also has a few minutes to spare, take photos of each other’s silly faces and send them to each other.
Make funny faces at yourself in the mirror.
Who says you don’t have time to go on YouTube to watch a cat playing around with a banana or to watch Jenna Marbles’ latest insight on life? Everyone has five minutes to spare, so browse YouTube until you find something that truly makes you crack up. You may even find a go-to video that has the ability to make you laugh every time, even if it’s a ten-second video of a goalie getting knocked over by a soccer ball. Put this video in your favorites and play it back for yourself in times of stress, and you’ll be feeling more relaxed and more playful.
If you’re really feeling playful, then you can make a YouTube video of your own.
Watch silly YouTube videos.
Laughter can be enjoyed alone as well as in good company. Do whatever you need to make yourself laugh — watch YouTube, read the comics, watch Saturday Night Live when you’re staying in, read Tina Fey’s memoir, or watch The New Girl or even a stand-up comedy act until you’re belly-laughing. Being able to crack up on your own will make you a more playful, fun-loving person, and it will make it easier for you to laugh with others.
Finding something that really makes you laugh on your own can also help you share it with others. Maybe you’ve found a dynamite YouTube clip that will be a big hit at parties.
Laugh by yourself.
Yoga is an extremely playful practice, and it’s all about exploring what your body can and can not do. There’s no one way to complete a yoga practice, and most classes leave room for flexibility and playfulness, whether you’re trying to master a tripod headstand, try a one-legged chaturanga, or just exploring happy baby pose in a deeper way.
Yoga allows room for exploration, which is exactly what you need to be more playful. Don’t be scared to try something out of your comfort zone — that’s exactly what yoga is about.
Having more energy will make you a much more playful person. One of the reasons people stop being playful is because they’re just too tired to be up for playing games or taking the world less seriously. So, try to eat three balanced meals, get enough rest, spend time socializing, and avoid anything that will lead you to be generally too exhausted to even smile.
There are a million ways to be more energetic, from changing your socks in the middle of the day to wearing brighter colors to project more energy.
Be more energetic.
This is another key way to be more playful. When you were a kid, you must have said yes to most of the new things in front of you; as you grew older, you got more used to your habits and routine and became less interested in new activities. So, if you want to be more playful, say yes to more invitations, and say yes the next time someone wants to go to the zoo with you, teach you how to juggle, or take a ceramics class. Only good will come of it.
Make a goal of saying yes at least 30% more in your every day life.
Stop with the excuses. The next time you say no to something, ask yourself what’s really stopping you. Is it tiredness? Laziness? The fear of trying something new?
Say yes more.
Getting out of your comfort zone will allow you to become a truly playful person. Do something that completely scares you, whether it’s taking swimming lessons, trying Ethiopian food, or hanging out with a group of people who seem to have nothing in common with you. Getting out of your comfort zone will teach you that you have more to learn and do than you thought, and that the very things that make you uncomfortable can be the most rewarding of all.
You’ll never be truly playful if you do the same five old things every week. Try to do something that makes you uncomfortable at least once a week.
Hang out with people who challenge you to try new things.
Get out of your comfort zone.
A lot of people aren’t playful enough simply because they don’t have the time to be. Make sure you set at least three hours a week aside in your schedule for “play time” — you can even call it that on your planner so you know that this time should not be taken too seriously. You may think that scheduling time to be fun and carefree defeats the purpose of it, but in reality, making the time to be playful is half the battle.
Set up a schedule that others can join in on, too. Host a weekly game night, for example, or schedule a weekly night out with your friends. Then, try something fun and new like an escape room or a cooking class.
Make the time for playfulness.
If you crack a joke or flirt with someone and they growl or roll their eyes or look at you like you have ten heads, stay positive! Think about what a child would do–shrug and bounce away, off to find another playmate.
Don’t let other people get you down.
Living in the moment is all about living like there’s no tomorrow. It takes practice but in the end, you’ll lead a fuller life. To do this you must realize the beauty in every moment, and in everyday activities. The most playful people are the ones who are most “tuned in” to the present. They’re so fascinated by the world at the moment that they’re always finding ways to engage it!
Live in the moment.
Simply making the effort to smile more, whether you’re by yourself, walking past strangers, sitting in class, or hanging out with old friends, will make you a much more playful person who is receptive to all of the positive energy in the world. You won’t be able to be very playful if you have a big frown on your face, and smiling more will make you more open to all of the games that the world has to offer.
You can even smile when nobody’s around. Smiling by yourself will also put you in a more positive and more playful mindset.