14 Ways You Can Connect With Your Inner Child as an Adult Living With Trauma
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When you grow up with a mental illness, experience childhood trauma, or have your childhood disrupted in some way (such as by adverse childhood experiences), it can feel a little like you never really had a childhood. If so, it may be the case that your inner child is hurting and affecting how you’re able to embrace the present.
I’ve done some inner child work in therapy. I discovered he feels lonely, sad, unloved… all the leftovers from my childhood. So, one of the ways to begin to heal these wounds between therapy sessions is by reconnecting with him in some way.
This can take a lot of different forms. Playing silly games and watching cartoons are a guaranteed way to bring out my inner child. And that’s not to say anyone is exempt from this; everybody deserves to connect with their inner child! We deserve to enjoy life through the carefree wonder of children, no matter our ages.
In short, connecting with our inner child is an important part of life. That’s why we asked our mental health community for the activities or self-care practices that help them connect with their inner child. I hope their suggestions help inspire you.
Here’s what they told us:
“I get my hands working in the dirt. Being a farmer’s daughter, if I don’t have a flower in a pot or have my garden, nothing is right in the world.” — @monaadvocaat
“Bubbles for days! Get the tube kind with a big wand and you can make mega bubbles!” — @terrischrader
“Go barefoot in clover to see how many four-leaf clovers I can find, or play ‘I Spy’ with my grandkids.” — @donnacares
“I let the child in me be a child and do whatever comes. I really never got to be a child, so if I want to try something like playing hopscotch, blowing bubbles (I have over 30 different wands), Lite Brite, Nerf guns (I have about eight or nine), science experiments, silly putty, etc. I allow myself (actually want) the joy.” — @moonlotus09
“Making bird food and watching them eat it. Horsing around and jumping into puddles.” — @weebit
“Coloring in a coloring book with some lovely fresh crayons.” — @fathousewife
“I dance and scream into my pillow… I have a lot of unresolved stuff to release.” — @janecorbett
“Horsing around… I know it’s weird or taboo for an adult. When I was younger and before I started riding, I would gallop around the schoolyard as a horse or horse and rider. As an adult, I would really love to do that again with no judgment. I find it would help with my riding and just get out pent-up energy that turns into anxiety and overthinking.” — @stephaniesikora
”Snuggling and hugging a soft blanket.” — @selfadvocatewarrior
”For me, it’s painting and drawing. I do this with my boy and every time, I feel so uplifted.” — @ariannaolympia
“Reading! I escaped into books from a really young age and getting properly lost in a story reminds me of the nights I forgot to sleep because I was so gripped by the story and the world was silent.” — @loesb
“Going to the zoo, amusement parks, and watching my favorite cartoons.” — @beautifulrose
“Watching certain shows (“Fresh Prince”), eating certain foods (candies), and listening to certain songs (90s anything). Being outside also helps me connect to my inner child.” — @chrislynn1
“Playing video games and eating s’mores. Reminds me of all the good times I had.” — @karabear719
Getty image by VectorStory