Aug 28th 2018 Back to latest news
It seems whichever news outlet you watch or read lately, they’re all painting a fairly bleak picture of the world. Throw in the everyday pressures of life and it really is little wonder that so many people – 1 in 4 – develop mental health issues or a feeling of overwhelm.
Obviously there’s more to it than that. But when there is an absence of hope, hopelessness isn’t a big emotional leap.
This got us thinking about what we could do to help in some small way, to help people feel better about themselves.
One of these ideas was finding (and uncaging) your inner child.
For those not in the know, the inner child is defined as a person’s original or true self, that often gets concealed by adulthood. After all, how many times are we told “not to do this or that” as a child and get disapproving looks as a teenager!
Or to put it another way; who we were before mortgage, rent, bills, pensions and car insurance became the biggest things in our orbit!
Sad but so very true for most of us.
So here are 5 ways you can find, unleash and nurture your inner child.
As we get older we’re increasingly governed by rules, boundaries and expectations set by others. Now some of these are important and are there for our own protection. Climbing up an electricity pylon is a terrible idea no matter how old you are.
But others are often imposed on us by society at the time. This is really important because whereas once a man was considered weak for crying – especially in front of his family – it is now considered a sign of a healthy emotional state. It is also far better for your mental health to cry than to not.
Expression also takes on many forms. If you’ve had the burning desire to write then do so. If you love nature then make a point of getting into the wilderness once a week or as often as is practical.
Don’t opinion, outmoded societal norms – when what the heck is normal anyway? Or fear what others think from living out loud. Because the only person that’ll regret it when you’re old is you.
That’s one of the first things that goes out of the window as we grow. Playing is for kids. Yes. And it’s awesome!
Whether you’re playing board games, a grown up game of tag, video games or a kick about in the park with your children, make sure play is a big part of your life.
It allows you to rest the neocortex (or logic centre in your brain) and give the limbic (the emotional part) a run around.
This is important as the limbic part of the brain is what controls our emotions and doesn’t have speech. It is purely driven by ‘gut instinct’. In other words it’s the part of our brain that tells us when something is instinctively right or wrong.
The reason why running around with your kids or messing around with your oldest friends feels right is because it is right. Your brain craves fun, so make time for it.
If you’re reading this and you feel tired to your core – even though you’ve slept well – it’s because you’re starved of fun and the oh-so happy hormones that fun produces.
Day dreamers were usually the kids who got told off in class for not paying attention. This isn’t strictly true – they just weren’t paying attention to the subject matter.
Daydreaming – much like play – allows the mind, again the neocortex, to relax and allows the brain to access both the memory centres of the brain as well as the creative parts too.
This is important as daydreaming actually affects the brains physical structure. So the more you do it, the better your memory becomes and the more creative you are.
Studies suggest that people who take a little time out to close their eyes and day dream are more productive as a result.
They also demonstrated higher than normal levels of empathy. This actually makes sense if the areas that control long term memory and creativity are being stimulated more regularly.
All this adds up to improved mood, better memory and improved creativity. Even improved job performance.
To be clear this doesn’t necessarily mean believe in a higher power although if you do, that’s fine and you’ll probably find this part a little easier.
By having faith we mean put your faith in people and in ideals. Believe in miracles and be open to the idea of the impossible.
In short, see the world through the eyes of a child. Watch Star Trek and – rather than roll your eyes at the warp drive, the phasers and the tri-corders; allow yourself to consider a future where those are everyday items.
The late Steve Jobs looked at the data pads and decided he didn’t want to wait 350 years so he invented the iPad. Which is actually better.
Having faith in people, innovation, our ability to do the right thing and our remarkable ability to always step back from the edge of a disaster (there’s historical precedence for this, we’re not being hyperbolic) will give you a more positive perspective.
When you feel positive, it is easier to cope with challenges and negative people. It also makes you more creative and more likable to be around.
Love is a fantastic, powerful thing.
The love we feel for our partner, our friends, our children and our family drives us to work hard, sacrifice, make complete fools of ourselves or drive through the night to be there when it’s absolutely needed.
Yet so often we can be withholding of our love or attach conditions. Or worse still, hold grudges. It’s utterly exhausting.
Take a leaf from a child’s book and just love unconditionally. Hug your friends when they’d normally get a handshake.
Put as much love in the world as you possibly can and you’ll be surprised how much you get back.
Do all of those things and you might just unleash your long buried inner child and see the world in a whole new light.
We can’t promise that all your troubles will vanish but we hope that you’ll be able to see the positives and have a happier life as a result.
And if you ever feel like being at one with nature you’re always welcome to run through the fields and get lost in the maize maze and feed the animals.
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