I have a two-year-old daughter. On a typical day, she might pick up a leaf and marvel, "Star! Leaf look like star!"
She points across the lawn and yells, "Squirrel! Squirrel so so fast!"
She shoves a tiny piece of dirt in my face and wonders, "Daddy, what IS that?"
See, Ella doesn't have to rediscover her sense of childlike wonder. Because she's a child who still has her age-appropriate wonder fully intact.
But she's a constant reminder that my childlike wonder is a little lackluster.
I'm often so consumed with schedules and money and to-do lists that I miss the beauty and wonder of the leaves, squirrels, and dirt all around me. I forget to play.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not aiming to live in a yurt and take daily six-hour, walking meditation nature hikes.
I'm a realist.
I live in a modern, messy, technologically advanced society. I'm not trying to opt out.
But I am trying to regain my sense of childlike wonder. I'm trying to tap back into the simple beauty of appreciating the world around me and the people with whom I share that world.
7 Ways to Rediscover your Childlike Wonder
1. Find your Reason to Wonder
If you don't know why you're trying to regain your childlike wonder, you're probably not gonna be so great at it.
So figure out your why.
Why are you personally trying to get more playful, less cynical, and more open and inspired by the world?
For me, it's about wanting to be more mindful and present.
Knowing my why makes me more motivated to take those nature hikes and get pumped up about leaves and acorns and shit.
Literal shit. Ella spent a whole afternoon visiting and revisiting a pile of dried dog poop on the driveway. She talked about. Asked questions. Squealed excitedly and invited her grandma to also check out the poo.
Now THAT'S childlike wonder, folks.
2. Learn from an Expert
My daughter is a childlike wonder expert. She's super great at marveling at the world around her and is totally uninhibited at how she expresses her joy about that world.
So, I just follow her lead.
When she picks up a rock and tells me how beautiful it is, I don't just placate her with a curt, "Yeah yeah yeah." I try to see what she's seeing.
I try to look at the world through her eyes.
What is amazing about that rock?
Find your own childlike wonder expert, whether she be two or 90, and try to learn from her how to see the world without jaded, calloused eyes.
3. Go Outside
Any time I'm feeling shut down, blocked, or just generally old and lame, I go outside and get some fresh air.
I have a game called Take a Hike that's really just me going outside and trying to truly see the wonder all around me.
Use all your senses. Smell, see, hear, touch, and...well, taste cautiously and only if you know which berries are edible and which are toxic.
We tend to get stuck in the visual, so you might need to use your other senses to snap back into a more childlike sense of wonder.
4. Put your Phone Down
I'm so guilty of also getting stuck in the smart phone rut.
I check my email for the 1000th time. I refresh my social media pages.
It becomes this endless habit that I just have to break if I want to give myself the time and tranquility necessary for getting my childlike wonder back.
Put the phone in a lockbox. Leave it in your room. Delete some of your more addictive apps. Make some rules for yourself like only using your phone during business hours.
For me, customizing my phone's "Downtime" has been an absolute game-changer. I changed my phone's setting so that none of those addictive apps work from 3pm-8am the next morning. It's really stopped me from incessantly checking and rechecking my phone when my family is home and I want my attention to be on them.
This way you can have more time to get more into the magical fantastic awesomeness of the world around you.
5. Take a Closer Look
When I need to get my childlike wonder back in full effect, I make it a rule to just look more closely at things.
Really study all the details. The colors, patterns, shapes, textures, and smells. What does it remind you of? Does it inspire you in some way?
By looking more closely, you may be able to appreciate something in a fresh new way.
6. Slow Down
There's no way I'm going to have any kind of sense of childlike wonder if I'm rushing here or hurrying there.
So when I'm trying to recapture some of my joie de vivre, I slow the hell down.
Take a few deep breaths. Slow down the pace. Meander and mosey.
Be a tourist in the world you walk every day.
7. Make it a Game
By now, you all know I'm a big proponent of play.
Turning things into games makes us more likely to keep doing them. It also helps us be more engaged and invested.
So make your childlike wonder acquisition a game.
Play Your Way Sane
- Play your Way Sane is all about using improv-inspired exercises and games to become more mindful, joyous, and connected. Get your copy to start playing your way sane today.
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All great ways to recapture your sense of childlike wonder, so you can start being more mindful and joyous about the simple things in your everyday life.