It’s hard to believe that it has been close to two years since we have been dealing with the COVID pandemic. There has been a call to be a responsible adult; get vaccinated, wear a mask, and adhere to social distancing standards. Although these are important guidelines to follow, our Inner Child can begin to feel stymied.
The Inner Child
Your inner child represents your first original self that entered this world; it contains your capacity to experience wonder, joy, innocence, sensitivity, and playfulness. It also reflects our unmet needs and suppressed childhood emotions.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that forces us to repress our inner child and “grow up.” When we deny and repress the voice of the child within, we accumulate heavy psychological baggage. This unexplored and unresolved baggage causes us to experience problems such as anxiety, depression, physical ailments, and relationship dysfunction.
During this challenging time, I invite you to get in touch with your Inner Child and let her express herself. Research published in Frontiers of Psychology explores how adult playfulness has a whole host of benefits, such as improved work and academic performance and increased creativity and motivation. People who remain playful and young at heart live longer! Here are some ways that you can connect to your Inner Child.
Explore Your Creativity
What creative activities did you enjoy as a child? Maybe you loved to color. The current rage is adult coloring books. They are readily available on Amazon, book stores, or even in local drugstores. Some of my clients have ventured into painting by numbers. Believe me, the end product is so different than what was offered in the past. My sister who I thought didn’t have a creative bone in her body has produced several masterpieces that she has hung in her home. You never would know she painted them by numbers.
If these activists don’t float your boat there are so many online courses you can take to ignite your creativity. Begin to explore them and as you do your Inner Child will begin to emerge.
Children tend to be active. As adults, we begin to lessen our activity level as we become ensconced in our responsibilities. Connect to the feeling of aliveness you had as a child when you were running, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, etc. Many U-Tube channels promote movement through dance or exercise. Find one that makes you feel elated. Maybe, you would enjoy new recreational activities that bring back the vibrancy you had as a child. Were you the type of girl that loved the outdoors? Hiking, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming are just a few you could choose from. Break out of a sedentary lifestyle and connect to what feels right to your Inner Child.
Early childhood specialists cite the many benefits of game playing for children. However, researchers are now revealing the benefits of play for adults.
- Decreases stress level. Play can trigger the release of endorphins which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
- Brain Function Improves. Playing games that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function.
- Lowering depression/anxiety. When you begin to play a game you distract yourself from anxious or depressing thoughts.
- Enhances relationships. Playing games with others can strengthen personal relationships and a feeling of connectedness. Even during this pandemic, you can find online groups that you can join to play games. Board Game Arena – Apps on Google Play is just one of the many sources you can turn to.
What games can you begin to play to release your Inner Child?
Stop and observe the wonderment of a child. They delight in the things we take for granted, the stars in the sky, sunrises, sunsets, the smell of flowers, the sounds of the ocean….. According to Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist, and author of Just One Thing practicing this type of mindfulness can change the way your brain works. It can help you become more resilient to stress, anxiety, and depression. It also offers health benefits by strengthening your immune system, improving digestion, and balancing your hormones. Set aside a few minutes a day to be deliberately mindful of the little pleasures in life. As you do this, you will train your brain to begin to marvel at things you once took for granted and reconnect to the wonderment you had as a child.
It’s a time in our lives where the reconnection to our Inner Child is paramount to our mental health. Embrace your Inner Child with gusto and ride out the stormy waters of the pandemic.