The older we get, the more we tend to neglect our inner child. Stress, responsibilities and various emotional or physical traumatic experiences thicken our skin and can cause us to become serious, cynical, and just plain tired.
In addition to our own grown-up baggage, we live in a society that tends to frown on child-like behavior in adults. Too much play time makes you a slacker, and if you’re not stressed out, you’re not working hard enough. Sound familiar?
But over the past several years, studies have started popping up that are shifting this old school mentality and encouraging us to heal our inner child. Research at San Francisco State University, for example, demonstrated that buying experiences, not possessions, leads to greater happiness. Another study out of Michigan State University proved that a genuine smile has the power to improve our mood.
These studies are just a drop in the bucket of research proving that we’re better off allowing ourselves happiness now, not later. And a great way to achieve immediate happiness is to nurture your inner child.
6 WAYS TO EMBRACE YOUR INNER CHILD
Dancing, whether in public or behind closed doors, is a guaranteed way to lift your spirits and heal your inner child. So turn up your favorite song (check out our personal recommendation here) and shake it!
You may not consider yourself to be a creative person. So what? Just because you’re no Dali or Rembrandt doesn’t mean you can’t have play with paints. Or clay. Or yarn, even. When you were a child it didn’t matter if you colored outside the lines, and it still doesn’t. Create freely and don’t overthink it.
Make a date
There used to be a time when all your besties lived on the same block and face time was more than an iPhone app. These days we’ve got hundreds of friends on Facebook, 95% of whom we never actually see. Making time to connect with friends can have a tremendous healing effect on our happiness and make us feel more fulfilled.
Be true to yourself
Kids have virtually no filter. As we grow up we’re programmed by parents, teachers, and so on, to keep our mouths shut — which to a certain extent is a good thing. Can you imagine if we all just went around saying whatever we wanted with no regard for anyone else’s feelings? The problem is we sometimes end up denying our own feelings for fear of being judged or a belief that we’re not worthy. As adults, it’s time to start being more honest in our relationships. When it doubt, ask your inner child what he or she would say.
Take up a hobby
You likely had loads of extra curricular activities going on as a child. Were you a jock? A band kid? President of the AV club (nerd!)? Whatever it is that interested you back then, reconnect and tend to your playful side!
Ride a bike
When you were a kid, biking was the way to get around. And even though it was great exercise, you weren’t at all worried about burning calories. Getting back on two wheels is an amazing way to reconnect with your inner child and relieve stress.