Essential Anxiety Cure Taught by Children
Slow down time and ease your stress with this simple reminder from our kids.
Posted March 3, 2017
This is in response to a reader who asked why children seem to be able to bounce back from stress more than adults. While it's a bit complicated, there is actually a powerful lesson that adults can learn from children about tackling anxiety.
Do you know children's number one secret for being happy—even after experiencing a stressful event?
Is it toys?
Think about how often kids find more pleasure in the wrapping or container than the actual toy you've bought them. Contrast that with adults' relentless pursuit of toys and material possessions.
Is it their pecking order in a group?
Not that either. (So no wonder the adult ego-driven motivations for status end up feeling empty.)
How about the ability to laugh and play?
Getting closer! But there's a reason behind the ability to do that.
It's living in the moment!
Time feels slower to children because they are completely present in the moment, responding to the stimuli in front of them. Most adults are living in reaction to the past or trying to plan for the future (where fear and anxiety dwells) that they end up losing precious time in the process—and, like a dog chasing its tail, they go after elusive goals like material possessions and status. Exhausted, adults start drinking or taking anti-anxiety relievers to relax. Yet those mood-altering substances don't stop the adult from focusing on the past of future, so the vicious cycle continues.
The cure is to endless anxiety and frustration is to stop and live in the moment. As a quick experiment, stop and take note of all of the sensory input right now: What is your skin feeling? What can you smell? Take a deep breath and really feel it. Listen to all of the sounds around you. Taste and really savor what you're eating and drinking. After doing this, did you notice that your worries temporarily diminished? (Be sure to try this out the next time you are flooded with anxiety...and keep practicing this for longer and longer time periods.)
Slowing down to the present paradoxically slows down time, allowing one to fully live life. It’s also the magical secret to unlocking the imagination—and releasing the power to play. Live in the moment and you will be more happy and content with life—and you won’t reach your grave regretting that you never fully lived.