Why Playfulness During Divorce Is Important

Playfulness is a way to reduce stress and get through the minutia and tasks required during divorce. Besides helping life to be more bearable when juggling proceedings, children and a job, a sense of playfulness lowers anxiety. Being in a calmer state is beneficial for making those crucial decisions regarding splitting assets and so forth.

There are various studies on the benefits of playfulness in getting through adversity (such as divorce) and contributing to longevity. Dr Proyer from the University of Zurich has done much research on adult playfulness and states these individuals cope better with stress and being able to adapt to situations. One study found that playfulness increased one’s well-being and resilience. When I was a nurse on a busy trauma unit, most of us were burned out with patients hovering between life and death. The two playful nurses who wadded up paper to bat around like a ball, were not. In-between patient codes and procedures, these fellows made up games and were the most relaxed nurses on the unit.

Professor Barret at University of Illinois also found that playful folks are better able to handle stress. These individuals perceived their stress levels to be lower, than the less playful subjects in the study. When people are playful, they have better strategies to deal with stress according to her research. Mistakes are more likely to be viewed as learning opportunities rather than as blunders.

Consider the advantages to having a playful outlook during divorce. One is better able to utilize coping strategies during this stressful time and less likely to fall apart. A person can take a pause from proceedings and be engrossed in pleasurable activities. Playing lets out some steam and enables one to see the humorous side of life. Children benefit by being around laughter and spontaneity instead of glum parents.

Playfulness improves cognitive, emotional and social functioning as was reported In the American Journal of Play, Summer 2011 edition. Good mental (cognitive) functioning is necessary when going through finances and deciding whether to sell the marital home or buy out one’s spouse during divorce. Other studies found that playful folks draw people to them. They are open, fun to be around, engaging and positive. Being able to connect with others and have a network of support enables one to move through the craziness of divorce. Being bitter and negative post-divorce can push people away.

An example of the longevity benefits of playfulness are the elderly Chinese in Beijing. These senior citizens were dancing to the music from their boom boxes, doing Tai Chi, playing board games, plus more. They laughed, indulged in badminton and chatted. They clearly enjoyed their time together and were extremely active physically and mentally. There were no wheelchairs or walkers in that group. This contrasts to a divorced woman I knew in the States, who was anything but playful and died of a heart attack.

I was at Disneyland with my sons when I decided to initiate divorce. I called family and friends between rides on Snow White, Mr. Toad’s Wild Adventure and Indiana Jones. I was forced to be playful in this atmosphere and that started my divorce in a much more relaxed way. Figuring out finances was less stressful when standing in line for The Haunted Mansion. My sons were relieved that divorce was about to happen. Disneyland set the tone for keeping playfulness throughout my divorce.

There are ways to be more light-hearted during proceedings. Plan at least one weekly get-together with pals to vent or catch up on news. Having support helps to lighten your burden. Spend time in nature which is calming, even if in a small leafy city square. My sons and I watched comedies and laughed a lot. Go to a fair and act like a kid. Get out of town to spend a day walking along the beach and enjoying the amusements on the boardwalk. My mother took my sons and I on a river cruise during divorce, which was approved by both of our attorneys. That took our minds off the divorce and into the play mode. Think of how to inject some fun into your agenda on a regular basis, and divorce will go a bit smoother.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)