What does it mean to be young at heart? I recall home videos of myself running around on Christmas morning, grinning ear to ear. I think about authenticity, innocence, and not worrying about things beyond my control.
This morning, my devotional focused on Matthew 18:4, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” This statement from Jesus illustrates the paradox of physically aging while fighting to stay young on the inside.
I’ve concluded that for each lap we take around the sun it becomes more important to maintain a childlike spirit.
Feeling young pays off big-time, too. It can lead to better health and improved resiliency. Here are eight practical ways to turn back your internal clock and have a little fun in the process:
1. Laugh at yourself
Laughter is the best medicine, especially when you step back from your worries and realize how few of them will impact you long-term. Being able to make fun of yourself — or not take yourself so seriously — can put things in perspective.
2. Spend time outside
Nature fosters creativity and joy. I’m convinced you can reframe your perspective on almost any challenge with some sunlight and fresh air.
3. Call your mom
Someone who changed your diaper has earned the right to share their opinion with you. It doesn’t mean you must take their advice, but it never hurts to recall your past and how it affected you. I’ve learned I can’t be a pro athlete, but when my mom tells the story about when I made the fourth-grade basketball team, I can’t help but smile.
4. Use your imagination
Have you ever heard a four-year-old tell a made-up story? They usually don’t make sense, but the twists and turns are incredible. Life has a way of stealing our imagination — unless we practice being creative. So sign up for an art class, buy that paint set, or crack open a blank notebook.
5. Wear pajamas all day
Sometimes you need a day to yourself. Wearing pajamas can change your perspective. I also find it’s easier to engage with loved ones when I’m in comfy clothes on the couch; my “big” problems seem far away.
6. Do something kind for a stranger
When children see someone in need, they instinctually share what they have. As adults, we tend to turn a blind eye. But if we look around, we’d be amazed at how much need exists. It may be someone at work or someone across the world (like one of the villages partnered with Humanity & Hope). There are more than enough opportunities to help others.
Processing difficult information and stressful activities is critical for sustaining a youthful, positive perspective. I encourage you to prioritize time alone, whether it involves meditation, journaling, or another mode of quieting your mind.
Science has my back; research shows even a fake smile causes a biochemical change in the brain that makes you feel happy.
What’s brought you joy since you were a little kid?
By Mitch Reinholt