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Riding on a tube behind a fast moving object was never my idea of fun–as least not within the past 20 years. But after much encouragement by friends I found myself, once again, back in the water and laughing as the rushing waves surrounded me. An exhilaration ran through me and soon I recognized this familiar feeling–one that originated in childhood memories.

You see, letting go of adult standards and giving yourself permission to have fun is one of the most nurturing acts an individual can do for themselves! 

Carry a Picture

We all have one…that childhood picture capturing us as careless and free. Carl Jung and other psychologists have long argued that everyone has an inner child—the playful, innocent part of yourself that lives in you. Our inner little boy or girl expresses the need for security, trust, nurturing, affection, and so on. This creative and playful part of you is the real version of yourself. Take a moment and ask yourself: How do you I feel about my inner child?

Nurturing your inner child in a healthy manner allows you to give and receive affection, as opposed to inability to trust, and being unable to be in touch with one’s feelings. In order to achieve the first example, we must nurture our inner child on a daily basis. Some additional examples may include writing a letter to your inner child from your adult self, engaging in real life activities that bring you back to your childhood, and allowing yourself to have freedom of expression.

Eat an Ice Cream Cone

Caring for your inner child actually takes a lot less work than fighting the idea of it. There are activities that can get you into the spirit of being a child such as hugging a stuffed animal, swinging on the swings at the park, or having an ice cream cone.

Increase Self Esteem and Awareness

It is important to nurture your inner child on a daily basis. Engaging in self-nurturing activities also helps when battling anxiety and depression. When you find yourself engaging in negative self talk, ask yourself if that’s the way you would talk to your inner child, or a close friend. In taking some of these suggestions, getting to know your inner child may increase your self esteem, and as a direct result, improve your relationships with others.

As I look back on my weekend of fun, I am reminded of the importance of venturing out of my comfort zone. The reminder that there is an inner child within us all was enough to reframe my take on what activities I can partake in. This year is one in which I challenge readers to take chances, venture outside of their comfort zone, and recognize that this is a life worth celebrating.

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