In some ways, our society seems dedicated to eliminating childhood. We often tell kids to stop acting like a child and grow up. Even the word “childish” has a negative tone to it.
At some point in all our lives, we stop being kids and start being adults. Eventually we all put down our toys and stop playing so we can take on bigger responsibilities.
But as we grow up, we might be letting go of a little more than we should.
Kids see the world in ways that we lose as an adult. When you’re young, you use your mind in creative, imaginative ways that can help you throughout your entire life, not just childhood.
There’s a lot of hidden potential in thinking like a child.
The good news is that childlike imagination and creativity still rests inside you – no matter how old you happen to be. Simply thinking back to when you were a kid will bring you into that mindset again.
And when you tap into your inner child and embrace a childlike wonder, you can improve your life.
1. Imagination and play boost creativity
Kids are endlessly creative. When kids are playing, they can turn a box into a fort, a car, a house or just about anything. This is all done with the power of imagination.
When you’re a kid, your imagination is unrestrained by rules. It’s unbound and free to go anywhere. This all changes by the time you become an adult.
When you get older, you start to narrow your thinking as a result of entering “the real world”. You don’t flex your imaginative muscle very often so it doesn’t get used.
When researchers at North Dakota State University asked two sets of college students what they would do with a day off, they primed one group to think like a seven year old first.
They did this experiment with hundreds of students and the results were consistent. The groups that were told to think like a child regularly came up with better, more creative answers.
The result is clear: if you want to be more creative, think like a child.
2. You open up to more possibilities
Kids don’t think in terms of limits. When you were a child, you honestly thought you could be an astronaut or president of the United States. You didn’t think of the world as a place full of endless obstacles.
Somewhere along the way, you stopped believing. You stopped thinking things were possible and instead assumed things couldn’t be done.
Believing in yourself is important. If you want to reach your wildest dreams, you need to have faith that you can accomplish them.
Regain that possibility again. Think that it’s possible, not impossible.
3. Kids don’t take life so seriously
When you’re a child, your life is care-free. You don’t have the duties and responsibilities that the average adult has.
Growing up means thinking about the future. It means worrying about paying the bills and all your responsibilities at work.
With all of those responsibilities comes stress.
Thinking like a kid again is a great way to unwind from the responsibilities of life. When you can tap into your inner child, you can fill your life with care-free fun again without worry or concern.
Eventually you’ll have to get back to being an adult again, but taking some time to be childlike can give you some much needed fun and relief.
4. Healthy interactions
Kids often use playing as a way to make friends and bond. Adults can learn a lot from that.
Many workplaces have already learned the importance of play for productive work relationships. Some encourage art and yoga classes or provide games such as foosball and ping pong.
They know that by playing together, they’re building bonds that make work a lot more productive. Not only that, but it leads to higher job satisfaction and morale.
The same goes for long, healthy relationships. Through fun and regular play, we can learn to trust one another.
5. Reduced inhibitions
Have you ever watched a little kid sing or dance in public? They don’t seem to care who is watching or what others think about them.
Children have an enormous capacity to be uninhibited. As we age, we erect barriers. We constrict ourselves to certain behaviors and care a lot more about what others think.
But when we put these barriers up, we become more restricted. We don’t give ourselves the freedom to be who we are or do what we want.
Scientists recently discovered that when jazz musicians improvise, they turn off an area of their brains linked to self-censorship and inhibition. In other words, to make better music, they turn off the inhibitions of their mind by thinking like children.
By thinking like a child, you can regain that freedom again.
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Author: Steve Bloom
Steve is the writer behind Do Something Cool where he blogs about travel, motivation, personal growth and adventure. He’s always looking for ways to make life more interesting.