U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

What is play?

“Play is a state of mind, rather than an activity… an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time. It is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again.” (Brown, 2009, p. 60)

“Play is the highest form of research.”

     ― Albert Einstein

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

     ― Plato

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” 

     ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


Why is play important?

In order to live a satisfying life, it is not enough to have an absence of negative feelings; we also need pleasurable experiences that help cultivate positive feelings, such as happiness, joy, excitement, and delight. As we grow-up we often get so wrapped up in responsibilities and deadlines that we do not make time to play. We get stuck in our heads thinking about all of the things that we have to do.  Balance is achieved when we engage in things we WANT to do, not just things that we HAVE to do.

Play is a powerful tool that can help you connect to the present moment. It helps you get out of your head and back into enjoying your life in the present.


What are the benefits of play?


  • energizes us.
  • relieves stress.
  • sparks creativity, flexible thinking and inspiration.
  • relieves boredom.
  • helps create social connections.
  • creates a sense of balance.

Click on the logo below to explore your play personality, and take the 5 minute play challenge!