Somewhere along the path of life most adults stop playing. I don't mean sitting on your phone reading Facebook, or scrolling Instagram. I mean PLAYING. Playing basketball, pickle ball, video games, cards, Jenga, frisbee...PLAYING.
I want to make an argument that adults need to play, just like children. Something I have noticed and science backs this up, that when adults play they have an elevated state of joy. This joyous state bonds social groups making cooperation more likely, it heals emotional turmoil, produces vast neurotransmitters, it boosts productivity and innovation. The thing about "PLAY" is it works off. What researchers have found is the cerebellum lights up and the frontal lobe is engaged. The right side of the cerebellum produces a state of connectedness. The right side of the cerebellum, as you might know, is responsible for most creative discovery. The place where artists construct and musicians create. It's interesting that this is where "play" highlights. The frontal lobe also is lit up. The place where decision making, detail orientation and executive function is found.
For all these reasons, firefighters and other high stress, hyper vigilant groups should be encouraged to "play". I want to talk about this because so often the fire service prides it self on traditions in training, policy making, and our obsession with outward perception of what society sees. We care more about looking good then actually going the extra mile. I want to argue that not making time to play, that forcing our people to be sleep deprived and policy following doesn't lead to patient, emotionally stable individuals. We need balance. We need time to blow off stress, connect with our crew, get into that space where we joyously laugh. I want to challenge the traditional thought. I want my crew to go the extra mile. Do the extra work to improve our societies emergencies. If that means more play, I'm in.
Check out the video with PH.D Stuart Brown and the article below.
Beyond the Gear is a informational place where firefighters and their families can read and take steps at living a healthier life. Healthy body starts with a healthy mind. I hope you enjoy.