Work is an essential dimension of human experience that, one hopes, allows for productive, mentally stimulating, socially interactive, structure and routine.
Regardless of financial factors, people need these kinds of consistent activities to imbue their lives with a sense of purpose and meaning. Thus, provided one’s job is not a toxic, soul-sucking, thankless chore, work is vital for overall satisfaction and fulfillment.
Play is also a crucial part of life. Just as a good work ethic is important for occupational success, a good play ethic is equally important for successful fun. Obviously, play means different things to different people but the common denominator of all play is having fun. This is usually what we mean by “down time,” or recreation and leisure.
Basically, play involves various enjoyable activities that tap into one’s inner child. It is important to note that indulging one’s inner child is not the same as being childish. Childish behavior is typically irresponsible, selfish, and potentially dangerous (e.g., excessive drinking or drug use). Childlike fun involves a zest for life, often physical play, silliness and being in the moment (e.g., making a sand castle, tossing a ball around, arts and crafts, music, reading, etc.).
Love is another fundamental aspect of a happy life. Indeed, perhaps one the most important things in life is to love and be loved. Simply put, love (and affection) is vital emotional nourishment that feeds our soul and fortifies our physical wellbeing. Keep in mind that love does not have to be romantic or sexual.
Very meaningful love can come from any reciprocal, intimate sharing with family and/or friends. Even (sometimes especially) pets can provide the deep bond of love and affection that seems necessary for true emotional satisfaction.
Pray does not necessarily mean literally praying to God or a higher power. Nor does it have to involve any organized religious practice at all. Rather, in this context, “pray” denotes a deep seated sense of connectedness to the universe, an existence bigger than ourselves, or a spiritual awareness of oneself as more than a purely physical entity.
Interestingly, church goers seem to live longer on average than non-church goers. While the reasons for this phenomenon are not clear, it is not necessarily belief in God, deep faith, or the power of prayer, per se. Instead, the camaraderie, singing, prayer recitation, fellowship, consistency of social involvement, and meditative aspects of some church rituals might be the reason.
Also, people who believe in God and have a faith based life probably have less existential stress and worry than “non believers.”
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