What would make little you happy?

If someone was to peer into the life of 3rd grade Ava, they would see a little girl, sprinting her way upstairs the second she got home from school to bask away for hours doing arts and crafts. From her melted bead business to her hot glued popsicle stick house she made with her dad, every craft imaginable was possible and she enjoyed every second of it. Now, if you were to ask high school Ava when the last time she made any type of craft was, well, she wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Before continuing on, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect back on the activities that brought you joy as a child. Now think, when was the last time you participated in them? If I am guessing correctly, it has probably been a while. And that is understandable because it is so easy to get caught up in the busy pattern of life. However, I think it is time we all start incorporating activities we loved as a child into our current lives. Whether that be rollerskating in the park, coloring, blowing bubbles or genuinely anything that brings you happiness: the possibilities are endless.

Within society, I find that there is this connotation that every action must offer a specific result or otherwise it is deemed unimportant. But what ever happened to just play? Being able to simply incorporate childhood activities into our lives helps to not only decompress, but allows us a necessary break to feel refreshed, along with many other benefits.

These activities allow us to tap into our inner child and reconnect with the joy we felt as little kids, allowing us to feel happier and through the release of endorphins, boost positive feelings and soften negative ones. Additionally, life can too easily turn into a routine that tends to dull out our creativity, but placing ourselves into new environments can help ignite back our sparks. When I was little, I used to envision a world where my dolls could secretly talk to me. One where unicorns were not just some figment of my imagination, but instead felt so real to me. I want this creativity back, and I refuse to sit here any longer and feel it slip away.

By being present within these moments, these playful activities act as an escape from our day-to-day stresses. Within our lives, social connections are vital and with many of these activities being social, we can feel more content with our relations with others. Lastly, physical activity, I know at least for me, can often be dreadful. But when our brains start to associate it with play, our view shifts to a positive one and allows us to start looking forward to exercise. So although play by definition is simply an action with the intent of no specific result, it turns out, these actions have a plethora of results that are truly beneficial to our well-being.

While I understand that many of us have busy schedules and finding time often feels impossible, I urge everyone to reflect on their screen time, and reallocate some of those hours to doing something that would make little you happy. And in no way do I feel that I have perfected incorporating these activities in my own life, actually I feel quite the opposite, and that is why I am writing this article, not only as an encouragement to you, but as an encouragement to myself to remember the way these activities used to make me feel, and why I must bring life back into them.