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How to stress less and play more

Is all the fear-mongering Covid communications stressing you out? It may be time to do something that makes your heart sing.

“Too much of our work amounts to the drudgery of arranging means toward ends, mechanically placing the right foot in front of the left and the left in front of the right, moving down narrow corridors toward narrow goals. Play widens the halls. Work will always be with us, and many works are worthy. But the worthiest works of all often reflect an artful creativity that looks more like play than work.”
– James Ogilvy, author

Did you know that at the age of four, 96 percent of children think they can be anything they want to be, but that by the age of 18 only four percent of them still believe it? As we grow up and get sensible, we tend to close down our sense of possibility, trading in our dreams and passions for a steady paycheck and a “proper job”. Somewhere along the way, we have lost the ability to play. Playing can seem irresponsible to many people. Yet even Leonardo da Vinci recognized and embraced the value of play.

Practical strategies to bring out your playful side

Tap into creativity Many people get caught up in the classical definitions of an artist when they think about creativity, but you don’t have to be an artist, painter or sculptor to be creative.  Imagining what doesn’t yet exist and then bringing it into being lies at the heart of creativity.

Strengthen your creative muscles by identifying all the things that get in the way of a more creative you and then get help to eliminate them. Brainstorm and allow time for blues skies thinking – if there were no limits what would you be able to achieve?

Sign up for a creative course – photography, painting, writing, woodwork, sewing, web-design, or whatever tickles your fancy. You’ll love my online course, Play Dates!

Be Frivolous Dedicate some serious time to doing something frivolous. Life is too precious to be serious all the time. Go wild!  What would you do if you knew you only had six months to live? Write a list of all the things, people, places, etc. that you’d regret not having made time for. Plan to do these things soon!

Spend time with children Make some time to hang out with children. They are masters at knowing how to have fun! If you don’t have any of your own, go and borrow some from your family or friends. Chances are they’ll be glad you asked!

Go to movies they love, and do all the things they love to do, eat jelly, go to the zoo, ride the dodgems, or just color outside the lines, etc. While I was in New York some years ago my daughter convinced me to see the Broadway show, The Lion King. It was so, so cool! I loved it so much I had a smile on my face for days. I still do!

Think about how children play. They run around without thinking about where they’re going. They trip, they fall down, and then they get back up again and run some more. They have a wonderful belief—everything will be all right. They feel capable; they let go; they play. They don’t care if they look silly—in fact, they don’t worry about it at all.

Give up the need to know No matter how serious you are, how many facts and figures you have, you can’t predict the future. There will always be surprises. Approaching life like a child helps us realize that you don’t have to understand everything. You can enjoy something – feel it and use it – without ever fully comprehending it.

Live out loud  Go public! Share your ideas with the world, dress to be noticed, stand out from the pack, be passionate! Don’t be another one of those people who go to their graves with their music still inside. Don’t be afraid to be silly.

Having fun is the brain’s favorite way of learning. Be eccentric! Be wild! Be you! If that doesn’t light your fire, “act as if” and be someone else! (link to astrologer learning how to channel)

Surround yourself with fun people Drop all your sad sack friends and go and find some wonderfully colorful people who know how to have a good time. It’s infectious! Come and join me for my in-person play dates>>

Enrich your life with gorgeous coloursTry the 21-day color feast. Ban grey, black and any drab colors from your life. Surround yourself with colors that make your soul sing—you’ll make other people’s soul sing too (even if they do have to wear sunglasses to just be near you!)

Awesome oranges, firey red’s, sunny yellows, luscious greens, cheeky purples, and bubbly pinks have been scientifically proven to boost self-esteem, confidence and happiness levels.

Color your life the natural way. Forget the tired adage, “black goes with everything.” So does red…and green…..and yellow….and all the colors nature has blessed us with. Read more and meet the Lorikeet that rings like a phone>>http://wp.me/pvJXQ-1K

Don’t forget the healing power of art. Check out my vibrant, fun and fabulous creations in uplifting colour ranges>>.Consider commissioning a piece that speaks to your heart

Do some FTE’s – first-time experiences If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got and you’ll always know what you’ve always known. Rediscover your sense of adventure. Break out of the comfort rut and expose yourself to some first-time experiences.

They don’t have to be huge. It may be seeing a show you’ve never seen, eating something different, or traveling a different way to work. In the process, you may run into a new area of passion and discover a whole new you. In New York, I tried peanut butter, pretzel and chocolate ice-cream and loved it!

Suspend linear’ analytical thinking Rediscover the thirst for adventure and exploration. Momentarily accept things at face value instead of trying to understand or over analyze things. Listen to your intuition and learn to trust your gut. Learn to enjoy the explorative journey rather than rush to the destination. Lost touch with your intuition and feelings? Reconnect here

Make time to play! I coach far too many people who never make time to play. I can’t imagine having weeks of annual leave accrued because I’m too busy working to have a good time. Can you? Work-life balance experts recommend taking at least one week every 3 months to recharge the batteries and replenish the soul!

Sometimes there’s never a good time to get away but I can tell you from my vast, hands-on research, that when you book a holiday in your schedule, life has a way of creating room to make it happen.

Create a playhouse One eye sees and the other feels. Go wild with color, texture and quirky objects that bring a smile to your lips. Read Jonathan Adler’s, My Prescription For Anti-Depressive Living. It’s hysterical and loaded with great ideas to brighten up your home.

With so many colors and materials to choose from, the options for expressing your personality, dreams, and aspirations are endless. If you’d like me to help you express more of your playful, creative personality at home or work, or you’d just like to change your decor book a color makeover.

My current playhouse is my happy gallery>>. I love to share my playhouse with others, take a peek at my Private Views page to see a sample of many happy memories>>

cassandraI hope you have gained a few tips to help you play harder! Perhaps it was just a timely reminder. Playing is a fabulous underestimated antidote to stress and a key factor in maintaining balance and peak performance.

When I first wrote this piece, not long after returning from a trip to Mexico in 1999, at the time of writing I was playing with color – painting boring neutral objects vivid orange – funnily enough (?) the name of the color was carpe diem – seize the day! As I wrote back then, “I think I’ll paint the garage wall Mexican pink! That should get the neighbors going – hopefully exciting their day as they make their way to work in the morning! If you live near me you may need to wear shades!”

Choose a job that allows the opportunity for some creativity and for spending time with your family. Even if it means less pay – it is better to choose work that is less demanding, that gives you greater freedom, more time to be with your family and friends, engage in cultural activities or just play. I think that is best.

~ His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

Learn to paint intuitive abstracts with Cassandra Gaisford

I loved, loved, loved visiting Bev at her home and hearing how much she loved my painting abstracts class.

After two years of not taking her paints out, now she is reinspired. In this video, she shares why.

Is it time for you to play with paintings again? Is one of your resolutions to be creative? Together, let’s get your mojo back and make life beautiful.

Join my abstract painting workshops. Visit my website for the dates- link below. As well as practical inspiring and empowering lessons on creativity, participants will enjoy soul-enriching healthy foods including Kawakawa tea sourced from the potager garden near the studio and locally made honey. Yummy.

If you’re in the Bay Of Islands and can come in person you’ll love this fun experience. Suitable for all levels. No experience necessary. Learn more and enrol:

In person art courses>>

Online art courses>> 

My courses also make fab and original gift ideas. Like, Mary who purchased an in-person course for her daughter-in-law. Or Jo, who purchased one for her mum who was turning 65.

Posted in: Blog

How to stress less and play more

The Joyful Artist

I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!

P: +64 (0) 21 873 833
E: hello@thejoyfulartist.co.nz


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