Written by Ashley Barile
Unleash Your Inner Child

Unleash Your Inner Child

Aahhh, to be a kid again! The great news is that you can be.I absolutely love reminiscing about my childhood. It never gets old talking about my favorite movies, games, vacations and foods from that time in my life. When I have these conversations, I feel lighter. My soul fills with happiness when I take the time to reflect on what brought me joy as a child. When adult life feels chaotic and super stressful, I take a trip down memory lane and focus on those simple joys. And science has shown us reminiscing about good times past can actually improve our mood and state of mind, even when we’re in the face of a sad experience.

I’ve known many people who eat the “perfect” diet, exercise regularly, and sleep great, yet their health is not where they want it to be. The missing piece to wellness is often joy, laughter, play, and overall fun, which childhood memories can so sweetly provide. Embracing things like happy memories, can inspire us to incorporate more of those joy-promoting activities in our current lives and reduce the large amounts of stress that most of us are up against today. It doesn’t take a PhD to realize reducing stress is a great thing for our overall health—it can impact our immune system, digestive tract, brain, heart, and really everything in between. Calming the stress response allows your body to reduce inflammation and thus lessen the likelihood of chronic disease, so think happy thoughts and you’ll be on your way to better health instantly.

I want to share some of my favorite ways to unleash that inner child that each of us has just waiting to get out. When I put this into practice, my stress level goes down. I focus on the activity and remember the joy it brought to my life. I recommend finding a comfortable space where you experience peace and protection. This could be your favorite room in your home, your backyard, or somewhere surrounded by nature.

  1. Color – I think we can all agree that coloring is a childhood favorite. There are so many adult coloring books available now and this practice has been found to work as a type of meditation, relaxing the brain and allowing us time to focus on the present moment. Grab the one that speaks to you and a pack of crayons/colored pencils. Find a comfortable position and take your time coloring the page. You may prefer coloring in silence or putting on soft music while you work. Focus on the colors you are choosing and the shapes you are coloring. Breathe in. Breathe out. Enjoy this time you are dedicating to yourself.
  2. Movie time – What was your favorite movie to watch as a child? I’ve always been a Disney fan! Jump into comfortable clothing and enjoy the show! Turn off your cell phone to avoid distractions. When you’ve finished watching, grab a piece of paper and pen and write down why you chose this movie. What meaning does it have in your life? Did this film teach you something valuable? Who is your favorite character and why?
  3.  Play time – Think of your favorite game from your childhood. Did you like playing cards? A board game? Or maybe you went to a field and played baseball with friends. Relive these memories and go play! Sometimes when I need to de-stress, I’ll take a trip to a toy store. I walk down the aisles and remember some of my favorites—Mouse Trap the game, Guess Who?, etc. I’ll take one home with me and have fun!

When adulting starts to feel too heavy, let’s focus on that little person inside. Our inner child is there to remind us to take a break and just be free. Your mind will feel lighter and your health will thank you, so make time to remember the joys of childhood and incorporate more playful behavior into your everyday routine.

Happy thoughts,

Ashley

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