Children experience an immense amount of joy, in part because they have a near- constant sense of awe and wonder for the world around them. They attend to their senses and indulge them as they take in their surroundings. Research indicates that children smile approximately ten times more throughout the day than adults do. Turn to them for guidance. Pause and take in your surroundings, imagining that you are seeing them through the eyes of your childhood self.
How would you have experienced this setting at the age of six? What about at eight or ten or fifteen? What would you have noticed first? How would your attention move about in the space? For example, if you’re waiting at the bus stop, try to get a sense of what your childhood self would have found interesting, amusing, mesmerizing, or funny. What would have been at your eye level? Would you have delighted in the whir of cars going by or carefully studied the clothing of the other people at the bus stop? Would you have been most likely to pet the passing dog, imagine yourself on the zooming skateboard going by, or not notice much at all as you indulged in your daydreams? Follow these thoughts, noticing where you feel the feelings in your body.
Pay attention to what brings you the most delight. Take the time to make that feeling more than skin-deep.
See if you connect to something about
the experience from your past. Maybe you remember your childhood self seeing these same things. Perhaps the feeling evokes another memory. Or maybe you suddenly notice a scent or sound that resonates deep within you. Find the thing that brings you the kind of joy that makes you break out into a big childish grin, then spend a few minutes sitting in that joy.