Did you know that people who feel younger than their age tend to be healthier than people who don’t? Your mindset has more power to change your life than you might realize. If you miss your childhood, take some time to discover how to feel like a kid again in your golden years.
How to Feel Like a Kid Again
Do you feel younger or older than the age on your driver’s license? Believe it or not, there’s a scientific explanation for that. The psychological concept of “subjective age” refers to your mental perception of aging. As we grow older, our perception of our age gets intertwined with our perception of our general well-being.
Interestingly, subjective age appears to have a real impact on our health. People who feel younger than their age have genuinely better health outcomes than people who don’t. They have lower levels of mortality and chronic illness, and better cognitive abilities than other people in their age group. Learning how to feel like a kid again can potentially re-connect you to the vitality and joy of youth. So, how can you do it?
Make Time to Play
When you’re an adult, “play” can refer to any kind of activity you do only for the joy of it. Some people like to hit the swings on the playground or mix up their exercise routine with skipping or jump rope. If those ideas make you feel self-conscious, you can do something quieter like playing board games with friends or cracking open an adult coloring book. Even if it feels silly, keep in mind that play actively engages the creative parts of your brain, which has been linked to lower stress levels and a happier outlook for older adults.
Learn New Things
One of the things that sets kids apart from adults is that they tend to pick up new ideas and concepts more easily. This can be explained by “neuroplasticity”, or the brain’s ability to rewire itself to learn new things. You can actually regain neuroplasticity as a senior by going out of your way to seek out new information and challenge your existing biases. Toss your preconceived notions out the window, ask lots of questions in new situations, and allow yourself to be challenged. Seek out new skills to learn, and practice every day. A few minutes a week learning Spanish phrases or working on your chess game can add up to a sense of pride, a curious mind, and improved cognitive health outcomes for any senior.
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d play with sidewalk chalk or finger paint just for the fun of it? Making art is another great way to put yourself back in the shoes of your childhood self. Adults who make art often have an easier time with “divergent thinking,” or the childlike tendency to explore their own creativity while solving problems. So, think back to when you made art as a child, and give your favorite creative project another shot. Buy some colored pencils or watercolors, or sit down with a journal and write some poetry or a simple story. Don’t judge your art by adult standards, but look for the beauty in it. Are the colors making you smile? Did you turn a phrase in a clever way? The more you learn to create for creativity’s sake, the closer you’ll be to that childlike mindset.
Learn to Let Go
The biggest reason most of us miss feeling like a kid is the simplicity of childhood life. Who wouldn’t want to go back to the days where the biggest thing you had to worry about was a paper route? And yet, adults often create more worry for themselves than they actually need to. If you want to feel like a kid again, learn how to let go of stress and enjoy life as it comes. Look at mistakes as opportunities to learn. Be kind to yourself, and look for ways to add fun to your daily routine. Focus on the positive, even when the negative seems overwhelming. If you can embrace a childlike, carefree mindset, you’ll be feeling younger before you know it.
Learning how to feel like a kid again can be tricky, but it’ll pay off in a happier and healthier life. Why not give it a try?
The Shores of Lake Phalen is an assisted living community in a quiet, peaceful environment in Maplewood, Minnesota. We offer numerous health and safety amenities, fun events and activities, a friendly and accommodating staff, and so much more. Schedule a tour of the community to explore our spacious apartments, elegant dining room, and more. We look forward to hearing from you!