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The Kid In Me And You: Living Life To The Fullest By Taking Cues From The Kids

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

always say that the best years of ones life are somewhere between “mature” adolescence and somewhere in your mid to late 20s. In fact, I’ve often professed that it’s during these few and in the grand scheme of things, I “do” mean few, years, that we are most often at our peak performance. We can juggle, work, school, friends, family, a relationship and personal responsibility almost “effortlessly” and without too many cares and concerns.

Yet somewhere along the way, as life becomes more of a routine than a groove, we start to slowly loose our energy and our “enthusiasm”. But, I seem to remember our parents having more energy than I “did” as a kid and moms and dads genuinely seemed content, if not happy.

Well, that’s probably, say parents and experts alike, they took their cues from their kids. In fact, they add, they when it comes to finding happiness, little ones can teach us some big lessons.

1. Take Baby Steps: When it comes to life, living it, and appreciating it, experts suggest our biggest problem is that we “think big”. They note that if you we look to learn for our children or our friends’ children, we’ll see that they think much “smaller” and can appreciate even a favorite cup or plate, while we’re busy trying not to sweat the small stuff.

Experts suggest starting by doing little things that make you happy and consciously savouring the moment, curbing our tendency to take things for granted.

2 . Trade in your down time for playtime: Yes, exercise is physically important, but think back to how happy you probably were as a kid. That’s because you got more than your fare share of fun. And, studies show that youngsters (between the ages of 9 and 10) show a significant boost in their mood after only 15 minutes of moderate exercise as compared to 15 minutes of TV or movie time. And, studies show that just 10 minutes of aerobic activity can significantly benefit adults by improving mood, increasing energy and lowering fatigue. Plus, the effects are lasting and should be increased up to 40 minutes, three times a week.

Also if you “hate” regimented exercise, think like a kid and find fun stuff you enjoy or use to enjoy. Think about biking, running, hiking, hoola-hooping, Frisbee, etc. all those things experts are know terming active leisure that are both exciting and good for you.

3. Listen to your body talk: Kids will let you know that they are hungry, need to play or sleep. Yet, we suppress most of our feelings and emotions. In fact, they usually react the way their body is telling them to. And, that say experts is a good thing. With that said, they suggest tuning in to what your body is saying and trying your best to follow the directions it’s giving you.

4. Dare to be different: While kids “do” want to fit in and they “do” mimic and learn from others, they are also freer when it comes to individually expressing themselves. And rarely are they at a loss for ideas for amusing themselves and having fun.

Ready for this? Studies show that being creative is linked with a more positive and happy mood. And, they suggest that those who express themselves artistically and through writing (frequently) tend to be less depressed, form fewer bad and risky habits and suffer less from physical ailments. In fact, writing and creativity have been linked to lowering physical and mental stress and alleviating a feeling of boredom by constructively occupying your time.

5. Keep your sense of wonder and curiosity: While most of us have long left behind the “but why” phase, experts note that the wise continue to question, realizing that knowledge is power. And, they add that curious people tend, overall, to be happier and more positive, exposing themselves to challenges and new experiences, and gaining a sense of accomplishment when they’ve mastered or acquired a new skill. And, that’s good for both physical and mental health.

Still, experts suggest that as we “mature” or get ensconsed in life’s obligations our curiosity can wane, especially as we become “set in our ways”, more self-conscious, and experiencing more difficulty grasping concepts of deviating from a comfortable routine. However, that results in a rut which may make us depressed.

With that said professionals suggest inserting new habits in one at a time and over a comfortable period of time. Going back to point #1, start out small, perhaps by taking a new route home or by trying a restaurant you’ve never been to before and approach it with a positive attitude and take note of all the positives of the experience, even if there were, in fact also, some negatives. Remember, you are allowed to have an opinion, but its best to hold off judgment and let you curiosity unfold naturally.

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