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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Reclaim Joy by Acting Like a Kid Again

Jul 31, 2014 05:44PM ● By Marilyn Eppolite

Working, family obligations and busy schedules often steal away the time to do things that bring us bliss and joy, leaving us feeling stuck in the routine of daily life. Yet, making deposits into our fun account replenishes the soul. If we don’t make regular deposits, there is no joy to withdraw; we become overdrawn, and only a feeling of emptiness is left. When we notice life slipping away like this, it is best to stop, become aware and take strides to get it back again. By carving out small chunks of time to appreciate life and all its wonder, we can refill our joy account.

The key to happiness is to bring the wisdom of the child into daily life. Children know how to live in the moment and appreciate what is right in front of them. Happy adults also feel gratitude for the little things in life that are often discounted or missed by stressed people: a butterfly stopping at a flower, the sound of a songbird, a short conversation with a stranger. Enjoying the simple pleasure of the present moment helps take us out of our busy minds so that we can regain the ability to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.

Tips to Capture Childlike Joy in Daily Life

Open to a sense of mystery. It is good to remember that life is a mystery. Look at the stars and the wide expanse of space. Remember doing this as a child. What did we imagine back then? Recapture that feeling now.

See challenges as opportunities to play. When kids don’t understand something, they make up a story. Use that innate creative imagination and see where it goes. Inventors take a break from their work and go play to relax their mind from overthinking a problem, which utilizes the left side of the brain. Play ignites the right side of the brain and allows for new ways of seeing and creative solutions. Fresh ideas are easily generated when the mind is allowed to explore those places of magic and mystery.

Be less serious about doing it right. Striving for perfection never made anyone happy; it just makes us feel inadequate. We should reward ourselves for giving it our best.

Sign up for giggle therapy. Laughing until our belly hurts increases the hormones that make us feel healthier and more alive. Try watching a funny movie, taking a laughter yoga class or visiting with old friends, and notice the good feelings that linger afterward.

Create something. Even a small project using paints, clay, building blocks or crayons can bring us back to a time when joy was flowing through every cell of our being. Just the act of scribbling can bring back the freedom of the child in us. If that doesn’t work, try using the non-dominant hand to draw. Struggling with concentrated effort can change our attitude. Inhibitions dwindle and the hidden child comes out, letting simple pleasures affect our reality and awareness.

Play some music and dance. As we drift away in movement when no one is watching, we clear the mind and lighten the heart, making it hard to stay serious for long. As music moves the body with abandon, the power of flow fills the body.

Go ask a 5-year-old to teach you how to play. The response will most likely generate a good laugh. What fun that would be.

Marilyn Eppolite is an energy therapist and spiritual counselor who specializes in emotional balance and resilience and blogs about living an emotionally balanced life. She is the creative director for Natural Awakenings magazine, South Jersey edition. Connect at

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