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Feelin’ Down? Engage Your Inner Child.

This was an interesting article I found on Psych Central
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Once upon a pandemic, a resourceful inner child discovered enchanting ways to play happily ever after. Follow this tale of a forlorn adult’s journey to awaken fond childhood memories to rekindle creativity, resilience and hope.

Jordan, usually a positive, upbeat person, finally succumbed to COVID-19 depression. This downturn occurred after months of muscling through the pandemic with encouraging thoughts (This will end soon.), distraction (okay, with a bad habit or two), commiseration with others (socially distanced in the blistering sun suffocating in a mask) and obsessive worries (How many days should I detox mail?). Even strong spiritual faith failed to offer much comfort while pondering deep questions like, “Why would a loving God subject us to all this?”

At first, Jordan sought an antidepressant from a primary physician. Some of Jordan’s symptoms, like insomnia and poor concentration improved somewhat. However, the existential realities of our current world situation continued to haunt. At this point, a counselor was consulted to find ways to cope.

After empathizing and normalizing Jordan’s struggles with the pandemic, the counselor asked Jordan to recall a happier time in life, perhaps during childhood. Jordan, who had suffered significant childhood abuse, could remember a few happy memories from youth. Within moments, Jordan felt lighter, more joyful. Here are the fruits of Jordan’s journey to find ways to rekindle the inner child within.
Sights

Pour through old photo albums long abandoned in the attic. You may find photos of gorgeous flowers, enchanting vacation destinations with family and cool vintage Christmas toys including Mr. Potato Head, toy cars, Mousetrap game and Legos which are still a big favorite with children and adults.

A new trend is diamond painting, a simple, mindful craft hobby that produces quality works of art, including wall hangings, Christmas ornaments, key chains, purses and even greeting cards.
Diamond Painting work in progress submitted by Nancy Finley
Sounds

Happy songs from childhood, high school or college years often evoke fond memories – maybe even an urge to dance a bit to the lively beat. For those baby boomers out there, here is a memorial tribute song to a 1960’s band comprised of family members. Check out all those cool images and colors.

Birds chirping and trees rustling in the wind can have quite a soothing effect. And let’s not forget the contagious effect of a baby’s laughter!

Reading aloud childhood fairy tales can bring one into a state of lulling fantasy. Movies have their place, but nothing stirs the imagination as much as reading.

Scents

Who can forget the tantalizing aroma of cookies baking in the oven? Even the worst day’s woes could be soothed with just the whiff of a fresh, hot cookie. Here are a few tips to enhance your cookie recipe. Use an equal mix of butter and peanut oil instead of the suggested oils, mix the baking powder thoroughly with the dry ingredients, cut the flour by a teaspoon or so, refrigerate the mixture overnight, pile the dough high on the cookie sheet. These little changes will produce the tastiest, puffy, chewy cookies imaginable.

Favorite perfumes and scents associated with happy times (like saltwater, burning leaves, flowers in spring) can quickly place you into a better mood.
Tastes

Indulge in the favorite fruit you loved as a child. Check out retro candy from the decade of your youth. The good news is that the candy usually looks better than it tastes. Many adults find their tastes for super sweet candy has dimmed. But it’s still fun to reminisce about the candy, perhaps with a social-media friend from your childhood.

Sensations

Saved the best for last. Few things awaken the inner child like the sense of touch, especially messy or cuddly. Don’t be afraid to snuggle with a cushy doll, stuffed animal, weighted blanket or your beloved pet. Why not? Afterward, immerse your fingers in some sloppy finger paints of bright colors, lots of Playdoh and gooey Slime. Just make sure to place a protective covering on the floor and table for easy cleanup.

After a couple of weeks, Jordan felt some relief in depressive symptoms. No, the pandemic did not go away nor did any of its related stressors. However, it was nice to know that it was possible to take a mini-vacation now and then from life’s worries.

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