Using Play to Rewire & Improve Your Brain

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In this episode, I discuss the transformative nature of play—how it changes our feelings, thoughts and actions and indeed, how it can rewire our brain to function better in all contexts. I explain the role of play in childhood, as well as adulthood in skill and social development and describe key characteristics of the mind and body during play. Additionally, I explore how play allows the brain to test contingencies in different roles/environments. Throughout, I discuss the underlying neurobiology of play. I also describe how low-stakes play, and tinkering can broaden and shape your future capabilities. Finally, I discuss how our childhood ‘personal play identity’ informs our adult personality. Throughout the episode, I use the science of play to outline recommendations for using play as a means to enhance neuroplasticity and explore novel situations, regardless of age.



  • 00:00:00 The Power of Play
  • 00:02:23 Tool: Reading on Smart Phones, Sighing & Learning
  • 00:09:14 AG1 (Athletic Greens), Roka, Helix Sleep
  • 00:13:57 Homeostatic Regulation of Play
  • 00:23:53 Childhood Play & Mindsets
  • 00:29:21 Contingency Testing
  • 00:32:17 The (Power of) Playful Mindset
  • 00:36:13 Body Postures
  • 00:44:03 Rule Testing & Breaking
  • 00:48:24 Role Play
  • 00:50:39 Neurobiology of Low-stakes Play
  • 00:54:22 Expanding Capabilities through Tinkering
  • 01:00:03 Play Is THE Portal to Neuroplasticity
  • 01:04:44 Adulthood Play
  • 01:10:14 Fire Together, Wire Together
  • 01:18:03 Trauma & Play Deficits & Recovery
  • 01:23:25 Competition & Dynamic Movement
  • 01:27:36 Chess, Mental Roles, Novelty
  • 01:32:52 Personal Play Identity
  • 01:37:24 Play Transforms Your Future Self
  • 01:40:55 Recommendations for Play
  • 01:44:25 Zero-Cost Support, Spotify/Apple Reviews, YouTube, Sponsors, Patreon, Instagram, Twitter, Thorne