Opening Up to Joy by Connecting with Your Inner Child
We all have an inner child! It is a part of us that lives inside of us and part of our subconscious. Our inner child has been with us since utero, through our developmental year’s infant, toddler, child, and middle school years.
The inner child can recall the positive memories playing with siblings, being with grandparents and friends, spending time in nature and other wonderful memories, but it can also remember trauma, neglect, fear, and significant loss. We don’t always know what implicit memories (memories we hold in our bodies) that are tugging at us, but if we notice the internal patterns by tuning in and listening to our inner world, we then become self-aware of how our inner child communicates to us through us.
This little child inside of us that we all have holds emotions, memories, and beliefs from the past as well as hopes and dreams for the future. When we invite our inner child to connect with us with practice and consistency, gentleness and compassion, we can open up to greater joy and happiness.
If you’ve never done inner child work, have never gotten in touch with this part of you, or have had significant trauma growing up, then beginning with a mental health professional is a good way to start to hold space with gentleness, compassion, and support as you work through memories of pain, sadness, fear, or trauma that has never been spoken. Therapy with a mental health professional provides your inner child part an opportunity to be held gently and compassionately, for healing and transforming old wounds, and work collaboratively with the adult part of you in the present.
Unfortunately, when we grow up, we lose sight of our inner child and the playfulness of life. We become lost and disconnect from our true selves. Joy seems unreachable in the day-to-day routines, family, work, chores, bills, and other responsibilities we may have.
We forget that life can be fun, silly, playful, passionate, or quite light! Who says we can’t find joy even when we are responsible adults! Your inner child can remind you that life is to be enjoyed not an everyday monotonous or boring thing, and especially not suffered through.
Connecting with your inner child can bring back the joy you have been missing to live a fuller life and see past the mundane, restrictive, and arduous routines we find ourselves in day to day.
If you are wanting or needing to step into JOY here are some things to keep in mind as you open up to your inner child who has been waiting for you to reach out and notice her/him.
- Begin a journal for your inner child and write how you have lost touch him/her, what you miss about being a child, what memories bring you the feeling of joy, what did you like to do when you were a child, what hobbies you enjoyed, what hobbies you never got to do that you wanted to try, and appreciating this part of you and how it would help you now to reconnect again.
- As an adult keep an open mind to how and what your inner child speaks of and would like to do.
- Set up a goal of bringing more joy into your life and making a list of activities you would like to bring into your daily, weekly, and monthly life based on your journaling and doing some brainstorming of many ideas that begin to rise up in your mind as you begin to step into this journaling process.
- To take it to the next level by adding activities as intentions to your calendar each day, week, month. Write in your journal keeping it next to your bed how you took the time to connect with joy through inner child play activities.
- Do a guided meditation for your inner child or connecting with joy (there are many you tube videos you can find for this work).
- Have fun and open up to creativity!
- Create a list of self-care activities
- Begin a daily gratitude journal
Here are some ideas for connecting with your inner child to bring more joy into your life:
- Connect and play with your children! Children can put you in a playful place right away. Play twister, run outside and jump on the trampoline with them, throw rocks into a stream together to see how many times they can flip, play Simon Say’s or musical chairs with them.
- Draw, doodle, mandala coloring, buy a canvas or media book and try painting with acrylics or watercolors, paint by numbers, or take a painting class for beginners.
- Get on your bike and go bike riding around your neighborhood, park, or playground.
- Start a new hobby that you always wanted to try when you were a child such as, playing an instrument, collecting crystals or rocks, building a bird house or other things you can imagine, sketch, and then build.
- Joining a club such as a bike club, nature hiking club, learning to become a speaker club, church club.
- Spend time with friends you enjoy and like to play too! No negativity allowed!
- Cook a new recipe each week that you have never tried before or wanted to learn to cook. Going over the list of ingredients, taking the time to shop for the ingredients, and have fun making it!
- Try roller skating and take a friend!
- Take a new class on photographing, acting, how to create videos!
When you start to step into activities that connect with your inner child and open you to JOY, take the time to journal each night before you go to bed and notice how certain activities each day helped you to feel playful and joyful. Notice how your mind feels, how your shoulders, heart, and belly feel writing about these activities. What does your inner child say about these activities? How does your day shift or change no matter how small the change notice how it makes you feel inside.