Acting Like a Child Can Improve Your Life
Last summer, Dr. Stuart Brown went to fill a prescription at a pharmacy in downtown Carmel, Calif., and found nine people ahead of him. Instead of getting frustrated about the long wait, he decided to use that time to have fun. “I began bantering with others in the queue,” he says, “and we shared horror stories about the longest lines we’ve ever been in and how we survived them.” The 83-year-old, who wrote 2009’s Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, has spent his career inspiring adults to reclaim a childlike sense of wonder.
Brown’s interest in this area was piqued in 1966, while he was working as a psychiatrist in Texas. As part of a team looking into what was then the worst mass murder in United States history, he learned that Charles Whitman, the man responsible for the crime, had been deprived of play throughout his life. Brown eventually changed his focus: in 1996, he founded a non-profit organization called the National Institute for Play. And he’s onto something – more and more evidence suggests having fun can be seriously beneficial.