Kids painting

For a lot of us, our twenties are about graduating from college, joining the workforce, and becoming a tax-paying adult. Between long days at the office, and long nights contemplating (or stressing about) the future, life can get hectic. Little things can add up and create unnecessary stress in the “adult” world, and things that once brought us joy, often have no effect on us at all. Keeping track of finances, securing a good job, and living with roommates (or your parents) can all create discomfort. When life gets chaotic, take a few tips from your childhood. Sometimes the best way to re-center your life, is simply to act like a kid.

Awakening your inner child is a liberating experience because it will force you to let go of your insecurities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Children are inquisitive, and are often mocked for continuously asking “why?” You’ll want to find a more eloquent way to inquire about things, but doing so can alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress. Even as an adult, it’s okay to ask questions. If you receive a complicated assignment from your boss, it’s often better to ask for clarification than to risk making mistakes—trust me, your boss would rather answer a couple of questions than have to do damage control on a project you messed up. Never be afraid to ask questions, especially if it will save you from unnecessary stress or possible mistakes.

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When we were kids, our parents and teachers constantly told us that we could be anything we wanted. We could be artists, writers, and musicians if we just believed in ourselves. Although this old adage sounds silly to us now, it does have some truth to it. Kids aren’t afraid to paint, write, and sing, and twenty-somethings shouldn’t be either. Take a hint from your five year-old self. If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. Don’t worry about getting published, or about what others think of your skills. Simply write (or paint, or sing, or whatever) for the joy of it. You know what else? If you don’t like painting, or writing, or singing, then don’t do any of it. The takeaway here is that kids do what they love and we should too.

Kids don’t need an excuse to go outside and play, and neither do we twenty-somethings. If you’re pent up in a cubicle all day, then go for a walk on your lunch break, take an evening run after work, or enjoy a cup of coffee on the porch first thing in the morning. The sounds of nature can be a great contrast to the incessant noises of paper shredders and corporate copying machines. You don’t have to play tag with your coworkers, but getting outside for a few minutes every day is a great way to clear your head and re-focus.

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As we get older, we develop a tendency to mask our feelings and conceal the things that are bothering us. It’s probably not a good idea to openly tell your boss how you really feel about her, but when it comes to personal relationships, it’s always best to exhibit clear communication. Express your concerns openly and honestly. Kids can be blunt about their feelings, but doing so allows for open conversation, and resolution of the problem. If your best friend says something that hurts your feelings, then let her know. If it bothers you that your boyfriend forgot to ask about your doctor’s appointment, then gently remind him. If you’re upfront and honest the way kids are, then you pave the way for problems to be addressed immediately. There’s no reason to live with pent up frustration when you can simply discuss and resolve your concerns.

When it comes down to it, acting like a kid is really just about being true to yourself. It’s about finding joy in the little things in life.