Cultivating Happiness: Connecting to Your Inner Child
Apr 29, 2013 12:28AM
By Laura Rain
According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 Americans 12 and older is taking anti-depression medication. Females are two-and-a-half times more likely to take antidepressants than men, and one in four women 40 to 59 are prescribed, as well. Unfortunately, these medications may simply mask symptoms of depression and anxiety in individuals that feel disconnected from themselves and others, as well as from nature and their spirit.
In native societies, a healer works with an individual to uncover the root cause of any illness from a holistic point of view. Treating an individual as one in body, mind and spirit stems from the belief that a sickness in the mind or spirit leads to a manifestation of illness in the body.
From an indigenous perspective, sickness and disconnection increase when an individual feels hopeless or has lost faith. Such “dis-ease” can also occur when individuals allow themselves to be consumed by the needs of others, which results in living in a state of constant distraction. Additionally, those that are controlled by their fears are largely disconnected from their intuition, which often leads to a loss of purpose and the ability to experience joy.
In the 2011 documentary film Happy, which follows people from all over the world to find out what makes them feel joyful, researchers and filmmakers discovered that the happiest people have a sense of purpose, enjoy helping others, are continually trying new things and experience what author Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi refers to as “flow” in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
These tips can help us connect with our inner happiness and flow:
Connect to the body.
Get some exercise, dance, take luxurious baths and indulge in activities that bring pleasure.
Connect to community.
Cultivate friendships and get involved with acts of service.
Connect to Spirit.
Perform yoga, meditate and pray or implement a daily spiritual practice.
Live the Serenity Prayer.
Have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Give yourself the freedom to be true to self by ridding your mind of the fear of the judgments of others.
Connect with nature.
Go outdoors, take a walk in the woods, hug a tree and remember to breathe deeply.
Do something outrageous.
When is the last time you planted your bare feet upon the cool earth at night, took a deep breath and howled at the full moon?
Count your blessings.
Keep a gratitude journal of all you have to be thankful for, and begin or end your day with at least three things you are grateful for in your life.