Top 10 Stress Relief Strategies From Your Inner Child

Inner Child Stress Strategies That Work

As kids, certain stress relief strategies came naturally. As adults, however, we may have forgotten how to relieve stress and find ourselves consumed by it. Looking for new stress relief strategies, you may want to look back to the 'good old days' when you knew how to relax. Read about the adult stress relief strategies related to our old childhood pastimes, and click on the links for more information on how to incorporate them into your lifestyle today.



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As a child, most of us spent time just making up stories in our heads. Day dreams about fun times, being the best at something, or just lying in a beautiful field are all things most kids know how to create, and do so naturally. Your inner child can keep that creativity alive while reducing stress, increasing wellness, and creating inner peace with guided imagery and visualizations, both proven methods that can easily be part of just about anyone’s stress management bag of tricks.



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As a small child, you either loved them or hated them, but chances are, you took naps. Sadly, many adults associate napping with laziness or lack of drive. However, curling up in a comfortable chair or even lying your head down on your desk for a quick snooze brings relaxation as well as increased productivity and health benefits. Not everybody can fit it into their lifestyle, but if you can find a way, working a nap into your schedule really pays off. Your inner child will thank you.


Getting Hugs From Loved Ones

Having the support of a good friend can help you to cope with just about anything. Image Source/Getty Images

Most likely at some point in your childhood, when you faced stressful times, a hug from Mommy (or another loved one) was enough to make it better, or at least help you feel safer and calmer. Sometimes we forget the power of touch and social support as adults. Next time you’re facing hard times, don’t forget to get emotional support from friends. (And if you’'re in a supportive relationship, don’t underestimate the power of physical affection.)


Playing With Pets

Pets can be a great source of stress relief for kids and adults alike. ArtMarie/Getty Images

When kids play with animals, you can see the pure love and affection that they share. If you had a pet as a child, you probably remember that animal as a buddy, whether it was a hamster, dog or horse. But as adults, we sometimes forget to connect with our animal friends. Let your furry friends help make your inner child happy again.

Pets have been shown to reduce blood pressure better than medication, increase healthy lifestyle behaviors, and sometimes give better social support than humans!



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As kids, we sung tons of songs, from The Itsy-Bitsy Spider to whatever was on the radio, with little self-consciousness. But how often do you sing as an adult, or even hum or whistle? See if you can get more music in your life and express yourself loudly, quietly, publicly or only in the shower. Don’t worry about being on key, just enjoy yourself. Singing can be a beautiful, fast, cathartic and free stress reliever that just about anyone can enjoy.


Playing Games

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As kids, we always played games. From Chutes and Ladders and Twister to Clue and Go Fish, we knew how to have fun. As adults, we may find ourselves too busy to play games, but don’t underestimate the stress-relieving benefits of a quick game of Boggle or other fun games. And now that you’ve grown up, your inner child can ​play these games right on your computer!


Drawing, Painting, Sculpting

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Just about everyone drew pictures as a kid. However, expressing what’'s inside with crayons, pencils or finger paints shouldn’t just be a pastime of kids and a lucky few adults who become professional artists. Whether you doodle with pens while you take a break at work, or buy some artist supplies and go wild in your spare time, working art into your life can help you process emotions, express yourself, relieve stress, and leave you with something to frame, or at least hang on the fridge.


Writing Notes

Mike Clarke/ Getty Images. Mike Clarke/ Getty Images

As we got older, some of us kept diaries, and we probably all enjoyed writing notes to our friends. These are still good stress management techniques to practice as adults. The health and stress management benefits of journaling have been demonstrated by research, and you can journal about your emotions, record your dreams, or keep a gratitude journal. And if you want to write notes to friends again, you can visit the forum, connect with others, and share your thoughts.


Team Sports

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We all remember sports teams as kids. Whether it was tee-ball, soccer, dodge ball or hide-and-seek, playing active games in a group has some great benefits for kids. As an adult, physical games can offer the health and stress management benefits of exercise, and the group involvement can ensure that you’ll keep at it. You can join an adult softball league, play racket ball at your gym, or enjoy other games that are available in your community. Let your inner child come out and play!


Imagining the Future

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Do you remember your answers when asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And, how are you spending your time now? If you have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to sometimes revisit the question. Are you really doing what you feel you were meant to do? Ask yourself what your ideal life would look like, and then take steps toward that ideal. 

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.