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Ten Things Everyone Needs To Learn From Their Childhood Self

Ten Things Everyone Needs To Learn From Their Childhood Self

We can all learn from our childhood selves. That innocent kid within us that used to take the world at face value and trusted the process of life. I know that we can learn a lot from our childhood self and re-introduce a childlike wonder into our daily experiences. Here’s how…

1. Be more trusting of others & let others in instead of building barriers

As we get older, life throws us challenges and sometimes those challenges cause us to shut off from the world in order to protect ourselves. We get hurt and we quickly learn to judge others and build barriers to keep others and the world at bay. This gives us a sense of control but it also fosters loneliness and disconnection from others. Learn to let the barriers down and allow others to get to know the real you. The more someone knows you, the more empathy they will have for you. The world will seem a warmer, friendlier place.

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2. Adopt an open, honest attitude and express yourself freely

Children speak their minds but this isn’t taken the wrong way because young children do not operate with malicious intent. They just express congruency between their inner world and their outer world. Freedom of expression starts to dwindle as we get older. Society conditions us to keep quiet and behave. In this way, we tend to lose a small part of our true character in an effort to fit in and be acceptable in society. By expressing yourself and resisting the urge to always be politically correct, you are honoring your childhood self. Speak your mind and be open in a positive way. Compliment others and spread goodwill. You’ll be making the world a better place.

3. Wear your heart on your sleeve

There is an innocence and a delicate trust that children show when they wear their hearts on their sleeves, yet they do it naturally. They will tell someone that they like them or that they would like to spend time with them. Adults who often fear rejection, hide their true intentions leading many interactions to resemble a guessing game. When we don’t trust the world, we focus on our suspicions and our thinking changes the way we interact with others. We treat others with caution and unwittingly change the whole dynamic of the social interaction by way of our behavior. Actively choose to see the good in others, learn to trust and people will more often than not meet that expectation in a positive way. When we give others the chance to help us or do the right thing, they will often oblige.

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4. Rediscover your curiosity about life, love and the ways of the world

Being inquisitive involves understanding that there is still so much to learn. We never stop learning no matter what age we are. Children constantly ask “Why?” and this is a habit that we tend to grow out of. Start asking yourself “why” instead of just accepting the status quo. Our childhood self had a hunger for knowledge that helped us grow and discover. You are never too old to learn and understand more. An active brain keeps the mind healthy and strong- it needs to be exercised, just like the rest of your body. Curiosity is a virtue.

5. Foster optimism about the future

Do you remember how excited you used to be just before Christmas? That feeling of intense joy and anticipation is hard to beat. Rekindle that childlike emotion by expecting good things in your future. As adults, we tend to be more cynical and almost expect disappointment but this can set us up for failure. Expect the best and try not to constantly imagine all the things that could go wrong. Imagine that the best is yet to come and trust that things will turn out okay. Even if they don’t turn out as you expected, deal with what comes your way without torturing yourself needlessly with negative anticipation.

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6. Dream big and imagine the impossible

How often have you heard a child say something like “One day, I am going to be an astronaut”. Our adult minds immediately scoff at this idea and think about all the logical reasons as to why this might never happen…financial restrictions, competition from others to find a job and so on. We employ self limiting beliefs without even realizing it and in the process.  We minimize our chances of attaining what we dream about. It’s okay to dream big just as our childhood self did. As the saying goes “you can’t score a goal if you aren’t on the playing field.”

7. Maintain a “can do” attitude

Most children tend to think positively rather than negatively. Once we become adults, our thinking tends to default to the negative. Our childhood self looked at possibilities. If we wanted to build a tree house, we would go about thinking about how to make it happen instead of focusing on all the reasons it might not happen. This is an important attitude to nurture. It can fill your life with possibilities rather than regrets.

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8. Be playful and silly sometimes

All work and no play makes a person very dull (and miserable!). Children spend a large amount of time escaping from reality to mess about and have fun. Make time for your childhood self to come out and play. Run around the garden, wear a silly hat or spend time laughing. All of these activities release endorphins – that ‘feel good’ hormone that makes us feel happy and alive. Life can be too serious sometimes so make sure to lighten your life up with a little fun.

9. Live in the moment

There’s a lot to be said for enjoying the present moment. Often, we’re either resentful about the past or worrying about the future. When we do this, we suck the enjoyment out of the present moment by not being fully present in the here and now.  As a child, life was lived as it played out – then and there. Your childhood self was present in the moment and enjoying everything that was happening around them as it happened. Your childhood self savored every moment and rarely worried about the past or the future. This is one of the keys to happiness.

10. No hidden agenda

What you see is what you get. Young children very rarely have a hidden agenda and your childhood self was no exception. That childlike innocence that is devoid of assumptions and prejudices. You still have this skill within you. See the world at face value, like a child would and you will enjoy a more peaceful existence. As adults we torture ourselves with ideas about what someone intended or why they behaved a certain way. Often, we will never know but we nevertheless agonize over situations and possible “what ifs.” When you take situations at face value, the innuendo and game playing goes over your head and cannot bother you.

We automatically assume that as adults, we are wiser than when we were children but there is a lot to learn from our childhood self. That raw, true element of our nature that lived life with no holds barred and worried less about outcomes, possessed wisdom. Reconnecting with your childhood self allows freedom and creativity to flourish. Approach the world with an open mind, judge less and laugh often and you will be on your way to rediscovering your childhood self.

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Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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