“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” – Mary Davis
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend one of RSM’s National Accounting Conferences and co-lead a class on stress management. If you have ready any of my previous e-mails, you know that I believe the practice of gratitude to be THE best technique for managing stress. At the Conference, I had everybody write down 3 things they were grateful for. When I asked volunteers to share, (initially) not a single person raised their hand.
About a month ago, I lead a group of 90 kids through a short yoga sequence followed by this very same gratitude activity. When I asked the kids what they were grateful for, almost every single hand went up. Some kids even lifted both hands. Their answers varied from being grateful for their coaches, the clothes on their back, their family, their pets, and their friends.
As a child, I believe we are inherently happy. We are curious about the world. We easily let go of grudges. We listen to our emotions, seek out friendships and crave social interactions. We roam the earth with wonder and awe and are completely carefree. As we get older, life smacks us in the face. We bottle everything up. We deny our emotions. We judge ourselves. We judge others. We suffer through losses, bad breakups, stressful jobs, and physical and emotional pain. As adversity strikes us like a 2×4, we tend to forget or ignore everything that is going RIGHT in our lives and focus solely on the trials and tribulations life puts in front of us. This was clearly evident when I compared participation in this activity between the adults and the kids.
What’s more, when nobody’s hands went up in class, I immediately told the audience the story of the eager children at that football camp. Shortly after I did, a few eyes lit up, attendees sat up straighter in their chairs, and a few eager hands were raised with the intention to participate. I believe that after telling this story, the attendees were able to tap in to their inner-kid at the conference.
No matter how much misfortune, adversity or hardship you have faced in your life, your inner-kid still lives deep within you. You can invite that inner-kid to come outside and play by doing things that set your Soul on fire. Remember what made you happy as a child, and do that! This could include spending more time with friends, going hiking, smiling as often as possible, trying something you have never done before or living with more simplicity! By tapping into your inner-kid, you increase your happiness and lifespan while decreasing stress, anxiety and negative emotions. As much as children learn from us and look up to us as they navigate the world, there is so much that WE can learn from them! Every day, we are given an opportunity to explore, appreciate, and live with enthusiasm. So go tap into your inner-kid, and you might just see the world a little bit differently.
Enjoy what comes of today!