Dr. Klein shares how playful, child-like activities improve depression and mood.
Question: How do playful, child-like activities improve depression and mood? Carole Klein: Well, we play in a lot of ways as we get older but usually we play tennis or we play bridge or we play golf, but we forget to do the child-like play, the play that we used to do when we were young. Like most of us can't climb tress anymore but we can slide down slides and we can swing on swings and we can fly kites and we can take some bubbles and blow bubbles and we can take our shoes and socks off and walk in puddles, there are a lot of things that we can do that are childlike. There is something that is incredibly different inside our bodies when we begin to be childlike. There was a study done a number of years ago that relates to this. In that study, they took people who were in nursing homes and they took them out and they put them in hotels that were of the vintage of the 1930s with the wallpaper and with all the magazines and the music that was piped through was all music of that era. And the people who were put in separate rooms in the hotel began to interact with one another more than they did in the nursing home. They began to move around spryer and happier and they even measured their fingertips and their fingertips had grown. Now that's regeneration of cells, that's really unique and that happened because they theorize that when we believe we're in one type of an arena like back in the 1940s or 30s for them, that we would act like we did at that time and we would feel like we did at that time, even to the point that our body would respond. So if we want to reduce depression or lift stress and we make ourselves do things that we found totally enjoyable as a child, why wouldn't that do the very same thing for us?