In our fast-paced world we can connect and be in more places and do more things than ever before, but that’s also leading to higher anxiety levels and frequent burn out. You may love your job, but still find that it leaves you feeling drained by the end of the day. What does one do? I discovered that by reclaiming my child-like sense of wonder and joy, I was enlivened and it led me to more fulfillment in my everyday life than I had ever dreamed possible.
Being responsible adults, we tend to leave playtime in our past. Maybe you have a child or grandchild who stirs those footloose kid feelings in you once in awhile, but I recommend actively making time to reconnect with your inner child for your own well-being and happiness. This practice is simple, but also very potent. Humans are meant to be creative, and by implementing playtime into your schedule you’ll find that you feel lighter, happier and more creative than ever!
How does one reconnect with their child-like self? Here are 8 practices to help you foster those youthful feelings:
1. Day dream. Lie on your back on the grass or beach and admire the beauty of the sky. Just observe. Watch the clouds, birds or leaves on a tree sway. Think back to when you were a child. What adventures did you dream up for yourself? What magical moments meant the most to you, and why? How might you be able to reincorporate some of that enchantment back into your days?
2. Stay in the present moment, limiting distractions. Children are very good at staying in the present moment. During a one block walk, an adult is likely to notice the road and the distance traveled, but a child will see a bird flying, a pretty yellow flower, and a cloud that looked like a whale. When you can stay in the moment, observing your surroundings, you open yourself to the universe at large. You might find that a special person or animal crosses your path, bringing forth a message that can help you grow.
3. Get in touch with what excites you. What did you love to do when you were younger? Were you always fascinated by the moon and the stars. Did certain art forms uplift, inspire or feed you? We all have interests as a child that get left by the wayside. What hobbies spark your interest still? It’s time to play again!
4. Arts and crafts. Art time gives you direct access to your inner child. Don’t let your inner critic join you for this. Just draw, paint, make a collage and have fun with it. Creativity begets creativity, so the more you allot time for it, the more it’ll stimulate your mind and feed your soul.
5. Take in the art created by others. What were your favorite books, paintings, music and movies as a child, that would help you tap into your childlike wonder? Wander around a museum or a botanical garden. Put on some fun music and dance around the living room. It will uplift your spirits and get your creative juices flowing.
6. Get out of your comfort zone. Do something unexpected. What would delight you to no end and have your friends saying, “You did what?” When you surprise yourself by stepping out of routine, it shakes up the stagnant energy and creates movement that will help you expand your horizons.
7. Ignore what other’s think of you. It’s time we all learned to give up on trying to please other people at the sake of ourselves and our inner desire for full expression. Be bold and don your brightest and wildest outfit. Sit on the beach and build a sandcastle. Say what you want to say. Be who you want to be. You deserve to enjoy every moment of this precious life.
8. Spend quality time in nature at least three days per week. Going out into nature replenishes and nurtures our body, mind and soul. Take a mental note of how you feel before you go outside. Then take a walk or sit in stillness for twenty minutes or more. Allow all of your senses to be filled with the magic of your surroundings. Notice the ways you feel different or better after your quality time in nature. Write it down in a journal if it helps.
By making time for spontaneous aspirations of youth, you’ll recapture lost passions and move away from potential ruts. The mundane might leave you feeling empty and bored, but when you indulge in child-like fascination, your life can be filled with connection, playfulness and purpose.