8 Totally ‘Childish’ Things We Should ALL Do Way More Often

Photo: weheartit​ 
live life like kids

A few evenings ago, I sat outside reflecting on life under the night sky. As a few hours passed, I noticed the movement of the stars and constellations during that time — they weren't in the same spot as they were when I first sat down.

Then a thought hit me; we're moving! I’m on a round object (a.k.a. Earth) which is spinning and flying through space.

When was the last time you paused to ponder the science and wonder of that

My mind then thought of the tea cups ride at amusement parks. Wow, I used to love that ride as a kid. 

As the cups moved along the track, you could independently spin your cup as fast as you wanted. (Of course now, as an adult, spinning in that way is not so much fun for me.)

But I realized, our journey through life is quite similar to that teacups ride. 

Unfortunately, as we age, those experiences no longer excite us. We tend to avoid areas in life that seem scary, stomach-turning, and too fast. As adults, we prefer experiences which are predictable, safe, and slow (I'm not talking about pace, I'm talking about challenges).

But children do the opposite. Children at an amusement park find happiness in the rides — the scarier and more thrilling the better! 

When does that attitude change in us? And why?  

As I reflect on myself, I realize that I've lost many of my childlike qualities. Adult society, in general, frowns upon those qualities. Like it or not, if I want to be accepted as "an adult," I must act like an adult. Or, at least, in the way society presents "adulthood."

But I'd like to propose that we embrace some of those childlike qualities we've lost. The world would certainly be more creative, conscious, inclusive and innovative in more grownups remembered what it's like to be a kid. 

Here are the eight childlike qualities I think we should all reconnect with to make our lives happier again:

1. Being endlessly curious

Take the time to slow down to notice the world around you. Like my reflection that we are living on a spinning moving ball, look at your world from a new perspective. What does your curiosity say about you? What can you learn from your curiosity?

2. Having a sense of adventure

When was the last time you took a risk? What stops you from taking a risk?

I’m not advising you do anything dangerous, but try something outside of your comfort zone, or something completely different from what you typically would do. Afterward, reflect on what you learned from the experience.

3. Taking a few risks

Similar to my caveat above, I am not suggesting you try anything dangerous or damaging, but when was the last time you acted without thinking it through or planning the action? What about spontaneously taking a day trip or surprising someone with a visit. Take a risk once in awhile

4. Living in the moment

Honestly, it is my experience with children where I learned about the peace you feel when living in the moment. I spent a number of years as a chaplain at a children’s hospital, and regardless of the outcome from the child’s condition, they chose to live in the moment instead of dwelling on the future.

Children who were dying (and knew what that meant) would say to me that "dying will happen later" and invite me to play with them. It was myself and the family of the child (the adults!) who dwelt on future thoughts of losing the child, all the while, missing the opportunity — right here, right now — to enjoy time with the child.

5. Playing often

Advertisement Losing weight can be a difficult journey for many people. Build healthy habits with Noom, a healthy lifestyle program backed by science & research.
Click here to Learn More.

What is the purpose of play time? To have fun, relax, be creative, learn skills, socialize, etc. Find opportunities which will result in those qualities being realized. How could you approach a challenge at work with a more playful mindset? How could you play more as a spouse, parent or friend?

6. Napping

Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, Greece, the Philippines and Nigeria all take siestas, or naps in the afternoon. Maybe we need to find their wisdom and do like-wise.

If you can't take a nap, you find 10 minutes to close your eyes, or 10 minutes to walk around your office, building, etc. Just 10 minutes away from the stress and busy-ness of the day can refresh you mentally and emotionally.

7. Unleashing your creativity

In his TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson shared a story about a young child who was coloring. The teacher asked the child what she was drawing, and the child replied "a picture of God." The teacher said "But no one knows what God looks like." The child replied, "They will in a minute." Whether you paint, doodle, craft, build or otherwise, letting your creativity out makes the world (and your own life) more colorful.

8. Asking lots of questions    

Many years ago, when starting my first teaching experience in a high school, I was given this advice: "If you don’t know the answer to one of their questions, make it up. They won’t know the difference and you won’t look stupid."

Even as a novice teacher in my early 20s, I understood how WRONG that advice was. How is it that once we reach adulthood, we're suddenly expected to know the answer to all questions about everything? In the workplace, how often have many of us made up an answer to avoid looking "stupid" among our colleagues? (I admit — I have.)

Children are usually happy and free because they don’t yet understand societal conventions, so they live their life in the present moment.

I'm not implying that we give up societal conventions and do whatever we want. That could lead to chaos (or to a peaceful planet. Hmmm).

What I AM suggesting is that we remember what made us happy and peaceful as a child and incorporate more of that into our lives now as adults.

I challenge you to join me tonight by watching the stars. As you do, reflect upon your own ride of life on this ball whirling through space.

Do you fear the ride and avoid it? Or, are you willing to raise your hands up and scream "Woo - hooooo!" as you spin around? 

Can you simply let yourself ENJOY the ride?

Christopher Shea, MA, CRAT, CAC-AD, LCC, is the founder and a life coach & counselor at Lifesjourney Life Coaching, LLC. Chris provides motivational guidance for improving one's life. Contact Chris about how coaching and life counseling can make your life peaceful and less anxious.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!