“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” ~Pablo Picasso
Kids are awesome!
I have three nieces and two nephews and every time I am around them I am in awe of how happy they are. Life for them is a wonderful adventure. Unaffected and undomesticated, they live fiercely in the moment. Free of the emotional baggage, beefs and scars that afflict so many adults, they just flow and savor the beauties of everyday life. They challenge their reality, they fall and bruise their selves only to get up and try again. They explore their world with an inquisitive and open mind. And they love without biases, unconditionally.
What is even more amazing is that every time I see them they have grown. Whether it’s a new word, or a new trick, or a new hobby, their evolution is exponential.
Why is it then that for so many new adults, their growth stops and the child inside disappears?
Of course some of the rapid growth we experience as children is due to the developmental processes of the human being. But I believe the real reason children flourish is not because they are hardwired to, but because they fully engage in the human experience. And when one does that on daily basis growth is inevitable.
Here are five things you can incorporate into your lives that will get you back in touch with your inner child and catapult you to new heights of happiness, success and growth:
- Do one thing a day that scares you
Children naturally face fears. The world is unknown, but each and every day they push boundaries and go boldly into places they have never been before. As adults we become slaves to routine and comfort. Every second of every day there are an infinite amount of possibilities you can tap into. Some of them might be frightening, but that’s OK. Life is meant to be an adventure. Like Nike says, JUST DO IT.
Laugh more. On average children laugh upwards of 300 times a day compared to less than 20 for adults. Laughter not only feels amazing, but it releases all types of hormones and from a physiological standpoint it is one of the best things a person can do for the body. Watch a comedy, hang around people that bring joy into you life. Or if you’re really feeling adventurous just start laughing out loud. Even if it’s fake, the silliness of it will probably make you laugh anyway.
- Meet new people
Think about your first day of grade school. There you are, thrust into a whole new world. But by the end of the year, you probably knew your entire class and most likely made some new friends, maybe even for life. Why, for most adults, does that stop? And no, Facebook friends don’t count! Human connection is in our nature. There are so many awesome people in this world. Get out there and meet somebody new!
Children have a voracious appetite for learning. Every day they explore and engage in new experiences. The human brain thrives on novelty and new stimuli. Our ability to pick and choose what we want to learn sets us apart from every other animal in the world. Learn something new. Maybe it’s picking up tennis or finally learning to play the guitar. How about learning French? (Parlez-vous Francais?) Whatever it is become a student for life and constantly seek ways to expand.
One of the most fascinating topics we discussed during my master’s in Positive Psychology program at UPenn was the concept of Flow states. Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Think about when you were a kid and you just lost yourself in playing. Hours may have gone by without you even knowing it. Find a hobby or activity that you can fully absorb yourself in on a regular basis.
Being a kid is cool. Play, curiosity, adventure, connection and laughter are all imperative to creating a flourishing life. Get back in touch with your inner child; your happiness and health are counting on it.
It’s a lifestyle,