I've been thinking a lot lately (more than my usual cognitive hyper-activity) about behavioural change in the context of health and wellness, and the steps it takes to get there.
Questions I consider daily:
- How do we improve compliance to a particular practice or diet and lifestyle adjustment?
- How do we trigger deep interest in any given moment to the point of immediate conversion to the perspective or product?
- What does it take to be fully convinced so that opt-in feels non-negotiable?
- What would I like the facial expression of the audience to be? If they smile, are they more likely to purchase or buy in to my idea? If smiling makes them lean into the idea, would laughter launch them into it? If laughter implies conversion, why wouldn't I focus on laughter as my primary objective?
I'm pretty sure people won't eat broccoli if you tell them to, straight up. At least that's how I remember it.
What if I sang it to them? Or rapped it? What if I gifted them a broccoli tattoo? Would they rawk it?
Ever since I co-founded Camp Reset, this idea of play as the social channel to transformation has been at the forefront of my thoughts. If play opens people up, will they be more receptive to dry or challenging topics?
What does play actually mean? Wiktionary defines play as:
To act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of recreation or entertainment.
Expressly? I think not.
I believe that the philosophy of health can be covertly inserted into play like a soldier hiding in a Trojan horse. In fact, didn't our parents send us out to play but were actually getting us to exercise?
If we playfully present a thought or product versus preach it, does that lack of pressure or commitment translate to greater acceptance?
I'm suggesting that playful delivery leads to a flirtatious engagement with the message. As in any moment of intimacy, the defences are lowered and information and emotion can be better processed.
In this case (and in every case), it's important to know a great deal about your audience.
- What empowers them?
- What kind of content cracks them and in what format?
- What tone, flavour or channel of communication works best?
- With your audience now open and vulnerable, there is a big opportunity to feed them your message.
[Side note: this is often where people are taken advantage of. Think cult-like personal growth type events where people are so empowered the teachers literally have full control over the outcome. My personal opinion is that if the end goal is to have the audience members independently willing to become a better version of themselves, mission accomplished.]
How about truth; that is, information we can't deny? Health is true. Poor health leads to sickness. We certainly can't deny that. Those of us who have had a loved one become ill or die feel it even stronger. Guess what? That number is growing. We are now all seeing the negative effects of run-of-the-mill modern life around us. NOT fun.
Alright, so the race is on to come up with a strategy that leads to behavioural change around health and self-care. And I'm ready to play with play as the channel, and see what happens.
If you have ideas for me, please share (comment here or write me). I'm willing to try and do pretty much anything that intersects play and optimal health. These could be workshop ideas, activities or products -- let your thoughts run wild like a child on the loose chasing a goose!
A playful Dr. Rhea
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