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“Insufficient play is another major disconnect in modern life, causing reduced productivity, increased stress, and accelerated aging. Stuart Brown, author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul and one of the world’s leading experts on play, calls play a ‘profound biologic process.’ He explains that play, across the span of a lifetime, promotes the development and maintenance of a ‘cognitively fluid mind.’

“Cognitive fluidity—being able to go with the flow, think outside the box, process what-if scenarios, and react quickly and effectively to changes in our environment—is believed by anthropologists to represent one of the most profound breakthroughs in human evolution. This breakthrough in brain function, probably emerging 60,000 years ago, meant that humans’ brains could link knowledge from different domains. The way humans understood and approached the world became both more flexible and more expansive. This enabled more creative use of technology, better transfer of knowledge between generations, and a resultant spike in human longevity. Cognitive fluidity is still essential today, helping us adapt and thrive in a complex, high-tech society. When we get stuck in patterns of overwork and overstress, we lose that important connection with our creative, intuitive, playful selves. Our work suffers and so does our happiness.”

—From The New Primal Blueprint

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