No laughing matter: South East adults ‘too serious’

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A study has found adults in the South East are ‘too serious’.

Holiday company Royal Caribbean has released a new report which has found 18 per cent of adults smile less than twice a day.

The Act Your Shoe Size Report, which contains findings and analysis from YouGov and the Centre for Economic and Business Research, has examined the play habits of Britain’s Adults.

Results show 68 per cent of adults in the South East believe life is too serious, whilst 22 per cent say life is playful enough.

The company is urging people to ‘act their shoe size’ in a bid to bring the joy of play back.

56 per cent of adults in the South East admit it’s the ‘British reserve’ and a fear of how others might view them which is preventing them from being more playful.

Time is also a key barrier with 23 per cent stating they are too busy to play.

More than half of those surveyed (51%) think acting more playfully would reduce current stress levels and 47 per cent feel it would give them a more positive outlook on life.

Sleep is a key benefit to being more playful for 31 per cent of people whilst 26 per cent think fitness levels would increase.

Stuart Leven, ‎managing director at Royal Caribbean International, UK & Ireland, said: “We take a playful approach to designing our ships and holidays which is why you’ll find a 30ft giraffe, dodgems and a 10 storey slide onboard.

“We experience first-hand how a playful outlook helps people relax, feel happier and get more out of spending time together, so we commissioned this report to look at how people can have more fun in their everyday life.

“What’s clear is we can all benefit from shaking off the sensible a little and acting our shoe size.”

The survey has also found play is considered to be a powerful tool in helping create a stronger family unit.

55 per cent of parents questioned believe acting playfully helps them laugh more as a family whilst 65 per cent stated it improves their relationship with their children.

19 per cent of adults claimed promotions have curtailed their sense of playfulness and cited their job as the reason they don’t have a shoe size outlook on life.

A further 28 per cent identify the hours we work and our 24/7 technology and email culture as the main reason we as a nation aren’t as playful.

16 per cent of business decision makers admit their businesses don’t encourage a playful work environment whilst 96 per cent of businesses thought playfulness would improve job satisfaction

81 per cent also thought playfulness could help reduce employee turnover.

Jessica Penrose, co-director of Playful Being, which hosts workshops and events encouraging adults to be more playful, said; “We’ve seen through our work that a lot of people want to be more playful – to feel more carefree, to delight in the smallest things, to be wowed by life again.

“As adults we are often weighed down by responsibilities and driven by the need to achieve, yet as this study shows there are real and tangible benefits to including play in everyday life.

“Giving ourselves permission to play for play’s sake is the first step towards rediscovering our playful selves.”

More than half of people living in the South East admit they’d like to go back to being able to delight in the smallest things again whilst 38 per cent would love to be ‘wowed’ by something over and over again.

36 per cent wish they could get that innate sense of childhood curiosity back.

When it comes down to it, what people living in the South East would really like to do is laugh like no one is watching (38%), dance like we just don’t care (32%), go on the swings (31%) and splash in the puddles (23%) like a kid again, while 26% would like adult versions of bouncy castles.

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