Playfulness training increases life satisfaction and helps to overcome depression

Playfulness is a skill that can be trained by doing simple exercises, according to the ZME Science portal. A study of scientists from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and the State University of Pennsylvania (USA) found that after one week of such training, people's mood and well-being improved. The developed skill helped them to fight depression.

Playful people tend to have a positive way of thinking. As previous studies have shown, they are able to solve problems in a non-standard way, breathe life into any single problem and make it more interesting for themselves. Scientists believe that education of playfulness skill can help to develop not only the creativity in a person, but also have a significant impact on psychological well-being.

The team worked with 533 participants divided into two experimental groups and one control group. Each day for seven days the volunteers had to do one of three special exercises 15 minutes before sleep. 

The first exercise was called "Three Funny Things": Participants had to remember three interesting situations that happened to them during the day. In addition, they had to note how they felt at that moment. As the second task, participants had to remember cases when they used non-standard game solutions, and also note how they felt at that time. The third exercise included reflection on the day's game experience (whether volunteers participated in the game or were outside observers). The control placebo group was asked to remember episodes from early childhood.

Before and immediately after the experiment, as well as after two, four, and twelve weeks, all participants filled out questionnaires, based on the results of which specialists assessed their personal qualities.

It turned out, as scientists found out, that all three exercises allowed participants of the experimental groups to express their feelings and emotions, had a short-term effect on their well-being and reduced symptoms of depression. It also led to an increase in the level of playfulness and general well-being of the volunteers.

Learning playful behaviors in adult life, the authors of the study note, can help a person in personal life, romantic relationships and professional environment. 

"It does not mean that every company needs tennis tables or children's slides. But one idea is to allow employees to consciously integrate playfulness into their daily work," says Professor Kay Brauer of the Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg. 

The developed skill of playfulness has a positive effect on psychological health, scientists conclude.


Sept. 7, 2020, 11:22 a.m.

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