How to Reclaim The Joy of Childhood
There’s something about the way young children enjoy life that makes us nostalgic as we get older. How did we lose that zest for life? Why do we often prefer peace and quiet to loud laughter and infectious mirth? Why did we suddenly become incapable of experiencing the pure, unadulterated happiness we felt as kids. The good news is that it’s still possible to reclaim the joy of childhood, no matter how old you are.
Avoid The News
Look at newspaper headlines, rarely are they positive: violent crime, human or natural accidents, misfortune and disaster that's what sells newspapers and what makes us compelled to watch 24-hour news channels!
"Attentionomics" is a term coined to describe news that is packaged to keep us coming back. Oftentimes this news is repetitive, never satisfying and leaves us wanting more. Studies suggest that the negative psychological feelings such as anxiety persist for significant periods after watching TV news and require intervention such as relaxation techniques to reduce the impact.
Go on a news detox - just imagine how less stressful life could become avoiding the news for a week or two?
The first thing you need to do is get outside. So much of our childhood was spent outdoors, whether on the playground or simply exploring nature. If you want to reclaim the joy of childhood, then you need to re-forge those bonds with the great outdoors.
And it doesn’t take much. Going for a long walk in the woods or a hike in the nearby mountains can do wonders for restoring your sense of awe at the power of nature. You’ll soon find yourself engaging in the little, spontaneous activities you once did as a child – chasing after a small squirrel for no good reason, picking up a particularly interesting leaf or flower, or just sitting down on a log and contemplating the world around you.
Live In The Moment
To reclaim your childhood, you also have to learn to live “in the moment” - as children do. As adults, our lives are so highly regulated. We have calendars filled with appointments, meetings and to-do lists. And since we carry our mobile devices with us everywhere, we now can check those digital calendars on the go. We also get notified about social networking status updates constantly distracting us from the now. No wonder we often feel so burdened and world-weary: it feels like we are doing the bidding of others at all times rather than living carefree, spontaneous lives. Unfortunately, children are increasingly spending more time with digital devices and are more sedentary as a result.
Don't Forget You
So take the time to carve out “me time” in your day. Reserve 10, 15 or 30 minutes of your day to do whatever you want to do. Some days, you might use that time to meditate. Other days, you might use that time to catch up on a book you’ve wanted to read. And on still other days, you might just pop into a store you’ve meant to visit, but until now, just haven’t found time in your busy calendar.
Find Some Time To Play
Finally, make time to play. As adults, we often forget how good it feels to play. But whether it’s with our children, our grandchildren or our pets, we can all enjoy those silly moments of play – chasing after balls, running along the beach, or playing fun games in the pool.
Play can take many forms. For some people, it might not involve the outdoors and physical activity. Just playing a fun game of cards can be enough to get your mind off the daily routine. If you have kids, then you don’t have any excuses not to play – nobody is going to care if you’re making silly noises or chasing after a toddler.
RELATED: Play For Health
You’ll soon find that reclaiming the joy of childhood has its many rewards. You’ll feel more energised and happier. You’ll be more optimistic about life and, best of all, you might even discover that the process of ageing is not so set in stone after all. Try some of these suggestions, reclaiming the joy of childhood is easier than it seems.
Szabo A, Hopkinson, KL, "Negative psychological effects of watching the news in the television: relaxation or another intervention may be needed to buffer them!", Int J Behav Med. 2007;14(2):57-62.