5 Ways to Feel Like a Kid Again (Even if You're an Old Grouch)

02/07/2016 11:51 am ET | Updated Feb 08, 2016


Children see magic because they look for it. -- Christopher Moore

Be honest.

You've become a bit of an old grouch, haven't you?

And life's become a drag.

But you're not to blame. All too often life can leave you drowning in debt, suffocating from stress, and sinking in a sea of uncertainty.

Trying to create the "perfect life" leaves you overwhelmed and wishing you could pass on the pressures of adulthood.

And somewhere between your first kiss and your last missed payment, the true magic of life slowly seeped away.

Life has become over-busy and over-stressed, no question. But the real trouble lies elsewhere.

Face it, you've changed. You've grown up.

You've lost your child-like wonder. Kids see life as their own personal playground -- and boy are they irresistible! Old grouches see life as their own personal pain ground and boy are they hard to live, love or work with!

What the heck happened?

Wouldn't you love to stop becoming an old grouch and be more carefree again?

Here's how...

1. Show Your Excitement

Stop trying to act so cool. Kids are excited by everything and they don't hide it. Who would you rather live with or employ -- an old grouch or someone alive with excitement?

  • Be enthusiastic at work-- don't be the office grump who can only find negative things to say about the latest developments. Studies show your advancement at work relies more on your attitude than on your technical ability to do the job.
  • Be super supportive when your partner suggests a dinner party or their parents coming round -- how you react will dictate how the evening goes.
  • Be excited when your kids want their friends over for a sleepover -- let them see how much fun you think it will be. Plan it with them.

2. Show Your Love

Stop hiding your feelings. Kids are so lovable because they don't hide their emotions, they let you know how exactly much you mean to them.

  • Tell your partner how much you love them right now. If they're not there, ring or text them. Or send them flowers. But do it now.
  • Tell that favorite aunt or uncle you haven't see in years because she lives that little bit further away, that you'll be round next weekend.
  • Tell a friend how much their friendship means to you. Or send them an unexpected gift. We give our partners unexpected gifts (don't we?), so why not great friends?

3. Show Your Awe.

Stop acting as if you've experienced all the wonder that life has to offer and met all the great people you'll know just because you've reached a certain age or status in life. Kids wake up each day eager to find out what the day has planned for them and what new friends they'll make. An unexpected trip? Hooray! Who can get in the car fastest. A power cut? Hooray! Fun games by candlelight.

  • Get curious -- get out of your rut. If you normally go to the theater, go see a baseball match. If you normally hang out at the ice skating rink, try a music gig.
  • Get adventurous -- go somewhere different this weekend or holiday. Or just drive home a different way from work.
  • Get social -- talk to someone new -- a work colleague, a neighbor or just the guy at Starbucks giving you your drink. Everyone has a story to tell. Anyone could be the next great relationship in your life.

4. Show Your Ignorance

Stop pretending you know it all. Kids aren't afraid to confess their ignorance. Indeed they positively love to ask questions.

  • If you're in a conversation and you don't understand something, don't just nod your head like a stuffed owl. Ask them to explain. Intelligent people will be impressed you had the self confidence to tell them you didn't understand. And people love to impart their knowledge to someone who will listen, so either way, you win.
  • If you are talking to someone and you aren't sure where they are from, ask them. If it's a state or another country that you know little about, ask them about it's history, people, food and anything else of interest. Most people are delighted to talk to someone interested about their home.
  • If your kids are playing a game, ask them about it, what are the rules, how do you win? To them, it's as important as your new project at work.

5. Show Your Trust

Stop being so cynical. We all know that some people lie, cheat and steal and that a few are corrupt and a very few, just downright dangerous. But we also know that the vast majority of people aren't like this. Your neighbor next door isn't a psychopath, he's more likely to be the person that helps you out in an emergency without any thought of reward.

Kids are naturally full of trust, cynicism is something they learn from old grouches as they grow up.

  • Trust your representative -- go look for at least one good public figure you can support and believe in -- they're out there, you just need to look.
  • Trust your partner to get the right groceries, wear the right clothes and make the right decisions. For them, and you.
  • Trust your kids to tell you the truth, return the car without a scratch and not wreck the house when you're out of town. What you expect in life is usually what you get. So often you hear, "I trusted them, but I knew what was going to happen." Then, in reality, you didn't trust them, did you?
  • Trust yourself to do the best you can -- most of us want to do the best we can at home and work, we just don't trust ourselves enough. Remember, if you want to bring out the best in someone, show them that you trust them. The same goes for yourself.

Rediscover Your Child-Like Wonder For Life
Forever stressing through all the pressures of adulthood is exhausting.

Your natural energy and enthusiasm totally lose their sparkle and life becomes a drag.

But remember life used to be your playground. Its magic is waiting to be rediscovered.

Go make that call or send those flowers, bake those brownies for that sleepover or ask that guy where the heck Altamahaw-Ossipee is?

Put the old grouch to bed and wake up the life-affirming kid in you.

Laura Tong is on a mission to help you grow your happiness and rediscover the magic in your life. Grab her free cheat sheet: 5 Mind Decluttering Tools that Simplify Your Day and Make You Excited to Roll Out of Bed in the Morning