The current social and work environment can seem so serious, it can drive our thinking into negative places and affect our mental and long-term health. We create roles for ourselves which may not necessarily support our self-development or progress in life, falling victim to seriousness and suppression of emotions and feelings. Playing the part of an adult can have damaging effects all around, when did we forget to be more childlike and playful with all things?
Playfulness ignites creativity and promotes emotional well-being. According to a study by Stuckey, H. L., and Nobel, J. (2010), playful activities such as art, music, and physical exercise stimulate the release of endorphins and dopamine, boosting mood and overall mental well-being. This, in turn, enhances self-confidence, resilience, and a sense of fulfillment.
Playfulness has the power to unlock self-discovery and personal growth. Research by Proyer, R. T., et al. (2018) suggests that engaging in enjoyable activities fosters positive emotions, increases life satisfaction, and enhances well-being.
When was the last time you felt a playful attitude at work or with people in general? What can you do in your own life to ignite that playful spirit? My own venture into playfulness this week has centered around the use of AI in my own self-development and understanding of how my mind might work.
So many people are warning against the use of AI in mental health and they are right to do so a study by Blease, C., et al. (2019) emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced approach and ensuring appropriate human oversight. AI should serve as a complement, not a replacement, for human interaction and expertise in therapeutic settings.
With that in mind, I set AI the task of interpreting my dreams, with a very playful attitude, not to be taking anything too seriously and just being curious about the outcome or the learning. Cultivating a playful attitude in our interactions enhances our self-development and enriches our social experiences. (Barnett, L. A. 2007)
The dream was powerful and emotionally charged and too easy to take it really seriously and be scared, it was time to figure out what might be going on. However, I have always struggled to interpret my dreams and so by asking AI to take a Jungian perspective on the matter, I hope to learn something useful for myself.
It helped me to understand the malevolent force, an archetype from my family history and my relationship with power and control, it taught me that balance is key in all things, the unconscious processes did not like my ventures into the unknown and so were closing me down at every opportunity.
Having used the questions provided by AI in a fun and playful way I have been able to look at myself and face the things that hide in the shadows. Fascinating and engaging, moving forward with bravery and compassion into self. exploration and how the images of the mind in dreams can shed light on what our barriers might be. Communicating with negative forces with these questions:
- Who or what are you?
- Why did you appear in my dream?
- What do you represent or symbolize in my life?
- Are you connected to any specific emotions or experiences?
- How have you influenced my thoughts, feelings, or behaviors?
- What message or lesson do you have for me?
- What unresolved issues or repressed emotions are you trying to bring to my attention?
- How can I integrate and transform you into a positive aspect of my personality?
- Are there any fears or insecurities that you represent?
- How can I find balance and harmony with this shadow aspect of myself?
Utilising my meditation practices to sit with the answer led to the befriending and integration of something I had perceived to be negative and scary into a friendly old man who was still needed and could provide a balance when I was practicing deep meditations.
Even using AI to generate images has helped me to solidify the memories and the learning, when was the last time you remembered your dreams? Talking about it with my father brought new learnings and insights too. He offered valuable insights and a more holistic understanding as well as a good laugh. This is entertainment, this can be playful.
This was such an interesting play with my mind and AI, I even asked it to form a pretend name and picture as if it was my therapist. Dr. Olivia Bennet, wow, we even had a conversation, using a script that SHE wrote!
Remember this is fun, playing with the imagination and AI, nothing serious here!
Playfulness holds immense potential for self-development, creativity, and fostering meaningful connections. Integrating playfulness into adult life, dream interpretation, and engagement with emerging technologies like AI can enhance our lives. However, it is crucial to approach AI responsibly, particularly in mental health contexts, prioritizing human oversight and ethical considerations.
By striking a balance between playfulness and responsibility, we can harness the transformative power of play to enhance our well-being, gain deeper insights, and promote self-development in an evolving world. Playfulness reminds us to advocate for ethical standards, ensuring AI aligns with human values, respects individual rights, and minimizes biases and risks associated with its implementation. (Jobin, A., et al. 2019).
No need to take things so seriously have some fun too!
- Barnett, L. A. (2007). The nature of playfulness in young adults. Personality and Individual Differences
- Blease, C., et al. (2019). Artificial intelligence and the future of psychiatry: Insights from a global Physician survey
- Jobin, A., et al. (2019). The global landscape of AI ethics guidelines. Nature Machine Intelligence
- Stuckey, H. L., and Nobel, J. (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: A review of current literature. American Journal of Public Health,