During a particularly challenging “adulting” moment, there’s a good chance that you have lamented the “good old days” of being a child with no responsibilities to adhere to. You’ll miss the days when you didn’t have to worry about paying the bills or meeting deadlines at work, and the only important event coming up was Field Day.
While we obviously can’t simply ditch adulthood whenever we please (wouldn’t that be nice though?), what we can do is temporarily adopt our childhood mindset to ultimately enhance our overall well-being.
Here are a few ideas to jot down (Crayons optional):
1. Write in your diary.
I kept a diary all throughout elementary school and junior high, and I quit in high school mostly because I felt that I was “too old” at that point. Well, I hate to break it to my deeply sophisticated 16-year-old self, but you’re never too old to keep a journal. Sure, your ramblings will evolve from “My crush noticed me today” to “My co-worker is driving me insane”, but the positive outcome is the same.
Journaling helps you gain perspective. It allows you to take a breather from your fast-paced lifestyle and simply be present. Most importantly, it improves your self-awareness – which is something we could all benefit from.
2. Play pretend.
Don’t worry – I’m not suggesting that you arrive to work dressed as a princess. However, don’t neglect the value of putting yourself in others’ shoes.
While we are initially driven by our own standpoints, it’s critical to be open to new ways of thinking – and it can be done by playing “make believe” as someone else. Doing so helps you see things from a unique point of view, and may actually help improve the way you feel about a situation.
For instance, maybe you were feeling slightly offended by a critique from your boss. However, once you do a little role reversal, you may realize that you would have said something very similar in her shoes.
When we were children, no dream was ever too big or unrealistic. I was convinced that I would grow up to be a famous pop singer, if that’s any indication. As adults, we get discouraged. We face the reality of our situations, and often end up accepting that we’ll never be where we truly want to be.
Although we may not necessarily aspire to be an astronaut as we did in our youth, it’s okay to aim high. (That pun was unintentional, I swear.) There’s really nothing wrong with envisioning ourselves in a position that may be slightly unrealistic. It’s okay to let your mind wander to an idealistic world sometimes. Embrace your inner child and just let it happen, and push away any lingering thoughts that you’re being impractical.
We used to believe in Santa Cause and the Tooth Fairy – so why not believe in ourselves?
4. Create something.
Our creative mindset can get a little lost in adulthood. It’s replaced with daily obligations and routines – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
Set aside some time admidst your busy day to pick up an old hobby, or start something new. Even if you draw a picture identical to what your 6-year-old self could have done, the point isn’t to create something beautiful. The point is to capture that sense of excitement that we thought we lost once we entered the big bad world of adulthood.
Eventually, you may realize that the “good old days” are actually right where you left them.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com