"We don't stop playing because we grow old: we grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw

Have you played lately? Really played? One of the things that I encourage all of my clients to do is to "play more". One of the symptoms of the disconnection from our Authentic Self is that we don't play.

Many people stop playing when they are a young child--because they had to "grow up fast" to deal with the challenging issues going on in their home. Or they were shamed for the natural playing that they did do with messages like "Stop making so much noise" "Stop acting so stupid" "Stop living in a fantasy world".

Or it just was not safe to play because of the harsh, critical energy coming from their parents. So part of the healing process is opening up again to your natural capacity for joyful play.

Here are some tips to begin to open up to playing more today!

1. Create safety inside of yourself to play by releasing any self-judgments of yourself you may have when you play. Part the energy of play is experimenting with new things, being creative and being more in the flow of the present moment. If you begin to judge yourself you will immediately stop this natural flow.

2. Give yourself permission to look silly and to make mistakes. In my Joy Workshops--where we play A LOT--I encourage the participants to actively try to "make a fool of themselves". When permission is given to flub up and do it wrong- it creates an incredible opening for your natural, joyful player to emerge.

3. Ask your Inner Child what she/he would like to do to play more. Your own inner child is a big time fun machine and has a ton of ideas of things to do that would be fun. So tune and ask this part of you "What would you love to do that would be really fun for you?" If you don't get any answers right away--keep asking with an intention to really listen and learn from this sweet, fun, playful part of you.

Sometimes the lid has been on this part of you for so long that it doesn't really trust that you really want to know what ideas it has.

4. Find people to play with. Think of everyone you know and identify who you feel the most comfortable "playing" with? Spend time with this person and experiment with playing. You may be the catalyst for play in the relationship--and that is OK.

One of my friends says to me "I love spending time with you because you are the friend I have the most fun with." It is because I have set an intention to have fun with everyone I spend time with. If you don't have anyone in your life that feels safe enough to play with--set an intention to meet new people who are fun, safe and loving.

5. Plan at least one fun thing to do a day--ideally two or three things. Make fun and play a priority in your life. So often we let our responsibilities take over and we don't leave any time for the things that truly nurture our Spirits---like play.

So re-prioritize your day and put fun at the TOP of your list--rather than the bottom. Surprisingly---and this happens over and over for my clients--the more fun they have--the more they end up getting done! How wonderful is that!

So open up again to the natural, joyful and playful energy that is inside of you--- letting the child in you finally be FREE!

Author's Bio: 

Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC is a pioneer in the Holistic Psychotherapy field. She specializes in Transformational individual counseling, Presentations and Workshops. For her free Workbook “What Do You REALLY Want: Finding Purpose and Passion” and free monthly tele-classes visit her web-site at http://www.RadiantLifeCounseling.com/ or you can call her at 1-877-346-1167.