Get your daily playtime!

“The opposite of play is depression and anxiety” tells us Stuart Brown (2009). You need to play as much as you need connection, physical well-being, honesty, peace, autonomy, and meaning (The Center for Non-Violent Communication, n.d.). You know it already: You have experienced that when you play, you are “in the zone:” not totally in full awareness, but engaged. You are not totally relaxed, but you are in a nonjudgmental kind of mindset. You are playing for the sake of playing: No secondary gain, no ulterior motive, and no specific outcome sought. To play just for the sake of playing and that is why we like it and why we need it!

Parten (1932) described six different types of play, from unoccupied play to cooperative play, the last one being the most complex form of play. In cooperative play, everyone is participating, taking different but complementary roles, and everyone is engaged in a common story. Brown (2009) insists that a childhood filled with play is likely to result in higher self-esteem, stronger confidence, to lower depression, anxiety, as well as anti-social behaviors. If we have better team players and better citizen from playing children, why would we not have better employees and healthier adults from more play in adulthood?

Cooperative players are more equipped for complex situations (Brown, 2009). They have better problem-solving skills, they know when to take rewarding risks, and they have better emotional regulation (Gray, 2014) – in other words, collaborative players are smarter, braver, and more resilient! Cooperative players understand that it is worth playing not because they win all the time, but most of the time – and it is enough to keep it exciting! This is how we build our self-esteem: When we do not need to win all the time, but just frequently enough to remain confident that most of the time, it is worth playing.

Play does not have to be a scheduled activity. It can to be an attitude. Remember what Brown (2009) said, “the opposite of play is depression and anxiety” – not professional and serious! You can be professional and serious about your work with a playful attitude! It is easier to work with cooperative players than with parallel players or with solitary players, is it not? You can be in a playful mode, in the zone, experimenting and living common adventures with other players, be engaged and do what you are doing regardless of the reward, the attention, or the praise that you could or could not receive. No matter what, you have had fun doing it – and it will make it all worth it! If you are not doing it for the people working with you, do it for you: You will focus more, be more creative, solve problems more efficiently, and your health is likely to thank you for it!

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor


Brown, S. (2009). Play is more than fun. Retrieved from

Gray, P. (2014). The decline of play. Retrieved from

Parten, M. B. (1932). Social participation among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27, 243-269.

The Center for Non-Violence Communication. (n.d.). Needs inventory. Retrieved from

Christine Leclerc-Sherling

Psychology and Public Speaking Instructor

Valdosta Campus

Berrien Hall/Room 322

4089 Val Tech Road/Valdosta, GA 31602

Phone: 229-293-6110 Ext. 3090


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