Play can help us deal with stress and become more resilient

Last year, Narelle Lemon and I graduated from our Masters of Applied Positive Psychology together. Funnily enough, on that first scary day at Uni almost three years ago, Narelle sat next to eachother and just clicked. We helped eachother through Uni and became firm friends in the process. Narelle has her own business in positive psychology and a brilliant acaedemic career at Swinborne University in Melbourne.

Recently, Narelle invited me to do a podcast with her about Play and it’s benefits and how play can be a helpful antidote to stress and a beautiful path to rebuilding resilience and hope. So, the blog below is a guest post from narelle and the Podcast link is also below if you’re interested.


Positive psychology coach & educator Jodie Cooper joins me in this episode. Jodie and her family have  been travelling around Australia but have adapted to COVID-19 surprises and settled in the beautiful state of Tasmania. With a mindset of play, Jodie and her family have embraced opportunity – a life approach you will feel as you listen to this episode.

In this episode we chat about the evolutionary place of play in our life as human beings – play, imagination, positivity, joy, hope, optimism and dreams are all addressed. We highlight that play is essential to everything – our ability to retain information, engage with others, explore our world.  And Jodie introduces us to the little creature, the sea squirt, as a reminder of the place of play in our life. Makes you think about how you can create spontaneous moments that enable us to leaner and grow.

Play is an antidote to stress, that enables an interruption to thought processes and the natural  brain response of fight, flight, or flee. And we investigate this throughout the episode. Jodie highlights how with the cues of artefacts or deliberate reminders for example, like a ball by the  front door or a particular task, we can use these are triggers to inspire the use of imagination to inspire playful moments. Its an instinct we forget a lot about as adults, but it is an action that is energising, allows us to be in flow, and it is something we can just do that has the benefits that inspire a sense of timelessness that fills us with joy. Play enables us to focus in on that moment. Its a micro-moment of being present.

Enjoy this episode as we giggle our way through various different examples of play for home, your personal life and the workplace. Jodie nudges us towards engaging in small moments, small choices, with a sense of playfulness that creates an opportunity for a bit of fun and positivity that breads hope. Play creates a positive hangover effect that has an undoing effect on stress, and she highlights that it isn’t just about goofing off and having a laugh, it has a solid pathway to developing and maintaining our resilience.

Play can happen in a micro-moment that is an interruptor and you can make conscious decisions to create opportunities for play that sparks moments that are more than tokenistic gestures.  So how can you bring a tiny little element of lightness, laugh, smile or giggle into your life? What might your little nudge be to help yourself or others to feel joy, optimism, hope that sparks opportunities to grow? What if play is a part of your to-do list?

Find out more:

Listen to the Podcast below


Connect with Narelle Lemon

Stuart Brown’s book called Play or his TED Talks on Play is more than just fun or Play is fundamental or

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul 

Hudson Bay, Sled Dog and Polar Bear Play

Panda slide fun 

Sea squirts

Award winning St Helens Tassies Top Tourism Town 2020 video to bring you joy

Importance of adult play