Surrounded by doom and gloom, as we seem to have been since March this year, it may seem silly to entitle an article “Release the Child Within” but we think that all of us should be able to act a little bit crazy every so often!
Think about it, when was the last time you laughed so hard that you cried and your tummy hurt? When was the last time you got mucky and didn’t care? When was the last time you sat in rapt wonder and looked at a ladybird, or a worm, or a centipede? When was the last time you deliberately splashed through a puddle?
Children do all of these things; they revel in the now and live in the moment – something all of us should practice but many have forgotten how.
Yes, 2020 has spectacularly failed to live up to even the most pessimistic predictions but just because everything around you feels less than joyful doesn’t mean you can’t look inside yourself for happiness. Learning how to be happy in our own skin and within our own unique set of circumstances should be something we all aspire to – whatever our age.
Mindfulness and meditation may conjure up images of ‘new age hippies in tie dye clothes’ but these days both are pretty much mainstream practices. If you haven’t looked into either, then it’s time you did. You don’t need to go to classes; in fact you don’t even need to leave your house; if you are reading this article you have access to the internet – search for either topic and you will find all sorts of resources, many free, to help you on your way. We’ve added a few links at the bottom of the article to make it even easier for you.
So, what does mindfulness have to do with releasing your inner child? Well, simply put, mindfulness is a young child’s default way of being! A child lives in the here and now, they don’t worry about what’s going to happen (or not happen) next and this gives them the ability to just enjoy the moment; to literally ‘smell the roses’ (or jump in a puddle!). It’s something we can all learn – as adults we tend to worry about everything; can we pay this bill or that bill; will our aches and pains be worse tomorrow; will the supermarket have what we need…and so on – and on, and on! Most of what we worry about are things we actually have no ability to affect or change – so why do we waste our precious time on them?
Try something: the next time you start to worry or whittle about something over which you have absolutely no control, just STOP! When you feel the worry bubbling up, sit quietly for a minute, acknowledge it and then let it pass.
Another thing young children share is a lack of fear of failing at something new – it’s just as well because without that trait, none of us would have progressed from crawling to walking; or from babbling to speaking! Getting back to that feeling of ‘it’s OK not to get it right first time’ opens up so many possibilities. If you accept that you aren’t going to be great at something first time around would you be more or less likely to try learning something new? If you’re not worried about ‘looking silly’ would you be more or less likely to attempt a new skill? We reckon that losing one’s self-consciousness and fear of failure is a great start to reclaiming your inner child.
Meditating is good for you, various studies demonstrate this and it needn’t be complicated, nor involve sitting cross legged in the lotus position for hours at a time! Just sit, or lay, somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and let your mind do its thing. Thoughts will pop into your head, just let them go and get back to focusing on your breath. The website Headspace has some great info for people new to meditating.
Back to your inner child…
Don’t be afraid to revert to childhood every now and again; think about the stuff you enjoyed as a child and see if you still enjoy them now! Rolling down a grassy hillside may not be physically possible anymore, but you may still be able to sit at the top of the hill and remember what it felt like.
Revisit childhood haunts (assuming you can get out and about); buy a bag of pick n mix; look up songs from your childhood and youth and have a dance round your living room. https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/100-years-a-century-of-song/ is a fabulous website that lets you look for songs in each decade of the last 100 years.
Buy a colouring book and crayons and have fun colouring in (and out) of the lines. There are some books available which claim to aid mindfulness at the same time.
- Have an ice cream, ice lolly or milkshake.
- Walk barefoot.
- Jump in those puddles.
- Dance in the rain.
- Talk to worms (or any other creepy crawly you fancy!)
- Most importantly of all LAUGH and have FUN!