As we get older, “having fun” starts to come less naturally to us than it did when we were younger. That’s not exactly surprising given the amount of responsibilities we take on in our adult lives and the day-to-day routine activities that set in as we try to balance work, family, friends and everything else.
Regardless of age, everyone has a child-like part of themselves that never truly grows up, and it’s worth letting that little guy or gal out once in a while when grown-up obligations and drudgery feel like they’re taking over our lives. By embracing your inner child regularly throughout adulthood, you can ultimately experience a sort of anti-aging effect on both the mind and body that no store bought product or service could ever provide.
When was the last time you truly felt curious enough about a particular interest to pursue it? We’re constantly exploring new interests and learning new things as children, but we tend to stagnate after we finish our education and settle into adulthood.
Novelty is what our brains really crave. Any time we experience something new and exciting that we haven’t before, our brains react by releasing the feel-good hormone, dopamine. And dopamine is what motivates us to keep exploring in search of a reward.
So shake up your routine a bit by scattering in a new experience here and there. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant–something as simple as trying out a new restaurant at lunch or taking the scenic route home from work could be all you need to start exploring more.
“Play” can be defined as engaging in anything for pure enjoyment without any goal of producing a specific outcome or serving any practical purpose. Children are encouraged to play in order to learn and grow, but adults? Not so much.
Despite the general trend of leaving play behind in our childhoods, it turns out that it benefits adults just as much as it does children. Play stimulates the prefrontal cortex to improve brain function, helps to relieve stress and anxiety, energizes us and even helps us create closer relationships with others.
Instead of zoning out in front of the electronic devices, consider playing a board game with some friends, tossing a ball around with your dog or pulling out the box of Legos with your own kids. Your inner child will come out and remind you just how much you loved doing it.
Unless you’re blessed enough to have a creative career already, chances are you don’t indulge in any artsy or inventive activities as often as you did when you were a kid. Even so, being creative in your career versus being creative just because you can are two very different pursuits.
When anyone–young or old–is in a creative flow state, they’re essentially meditating on their own self-expression. It stimulates the mind, gives us an outlet to release energy, makes us better problem solvers and even provides stress relief.
Whether your thing is (or once used to be) drawing, painting, writing, dancing, playing an instrument or some other cretive endeavor, the child inside of you can help bring it back to life. You could even consider taking a class to explore and learn more about perfecting your craft.
There’s a lot of truth to the old saying that age is just a number. Let your inner child come out to explore, play and create once in a while for a happier and healthier adult life.