Games to play with your inner child.

By David Joel Miller.

Have you forgotten how to play?

Play

Children start out life being able to play naturally. As you get older it is easy to get caught up in the seriousness of the adult role. Some people get told far too early in life that they should grow up and act like adults. Happy, emotionally healthy people discover that being able to play can be a great stress reducer. Think some about how much you used to like to play. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could put some of that playfulness back in your life?

Once you get to be an adult you may have started to think that having fun was either expensive or involved high-risk behaviors like drugs, alcohol or sex. There are plenty of ways an adult can have fun that does not involve high-risk behaviors. Here are some suggestions for ways to play and have fun again in ways that are consistent with a healthy emotional life and recovery from whatever you may be recovering from.

Plan a tour for an out-of-town guest.

Where would you take an old friend or relative if they visited you in the town you live in for the first time? Bet there are tourist attractions you have never seen right around the corner from where you live.

Are their museums, quaint shops or other things that bring tourists to your town? Consider giving yourself a tour of all those hidden pleasures. Consider checking out the tourist must-see spots in your own town.

Make up an excuse to play in the dirt.

Remember how much fun it was way back when playing in the dirt? Why can’t adults do that again? Plant a garden, go digging for rocks and minerals or work on an outdoor restoration project. Find a way to get back in touch with the earth in an adult fun way.

Physical effort, the kind you just can’t do in a suit and tie is good for the body and the soul.

Offer to babysit.

Like kids but yours have grown up and moved away? Help out someone and watch their kids. Volunteer to take some kids on a field trip or coach a team. See how much fun you can have sharing your experiences and know-how with youngsters.

Go toy shopping.

Therapists who work with children get to use this excuse a lot. A major part of the fun of toys is shopping for them. Visit a toy store. Buy some toys for you and a partner or child to play. Consider donating some toys to needy children on a holiday. Any excuse to shop for toys will do.

Remember that doing for others is often more rewarding than doing for yourself.

Plan a craft project.

Craft projects are great fun for children of all ages from birth to however old you can be. Make something to decorate your home. A small handmade thing says this is my space whether it is at home or at the office. Handmade craft projects are great gifts also.

Color with crayons.

Remember when you used to do your art? Did you draw or color? Get that feeling again! There is nothing like crayons to bring out the child in you. You do not need to be a great artist to enjoy the process of expressing yourself.

Paint some rocks.

Honest, the rocks do not mind. There are plenty of them. Think of all the fun things you could make decorating a rock. This can make a great group project. Have a contest for the best-painted rock.

Looking again at common everyday items in a new way can spark your creativity. What shapes do you see in the rock? Can you bring them out by adding a touch here and a line there?

Mother earth scavenger hunt.

This is a great chance to combine a competition, you know how adults like competitions, with some teamwork and the great outdoors. What would you expect to see if you walked in the park or woods? Make a list of what might be there if you looked really hard. Did you see the squirrel and the toad?

You do not have to collect things or bring them home. Just capturing the memories of the things you saw can be an exciting fun-filled adventure. Take some photos or a video. That smartphone or tablet has uses beyond social media.

Those are some of my thoughts about how to change-up the pace and have some fun even if you are an adult. But the way it can help to reconnect with your inner child if you can persuade a real small child to accompany you on this expedition. Maybe a grandchild or plan an event with a friend or neighbor who has small children and could use an outing also.

Any other ideas for how to be childlike and have fun once more? Wouldn’t it be good to get some play, back into your life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Inner Child a Twin?

By David Joel Miller.

Are there times your inner-child can’t get along with its siblings?

Inner-Twin

Inner-Twin
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There has been lots of discussion, and more than a few books over the years, about having an inner child. That part of us that is leftover from childhood, who may have those emotional hurts and pains which have failed to heal properly. There are even some therapists who advertise that they specialize in “inner child work” by which they mean they work with adults on the emotional healing and growth that should have happened in childhood but as an adult, we realize still needs to receive attention. What about the times this approach does not work? Why won’t my inner-child go along with this program?

If you feel like you need to cry or scream like a little child why don’t you do it?

Now the very rational among us tell us that there is no inner-child hiding inside us. We can perform x-rays, ultrasounds, cat-scans and all manner of other tests and still no one seems to be able to find that inner child lurking in there. You can’t locate that inner child so why do so many so persistently feel that one must be present?

One way I have tried to work through this inner-child stuff is my continued belief that there are certain lessons, emotional ones, and intellectual ones, which I need to learn in life. If I did not learn those lessons at 8 then I will still be working on them at 80. Eventually, we all need to learn lessons and master emotions.

That might work if I could decide what that lesson was, what is the right answer that I need to arrive at for a happy life. Then I could study till I get it right. Wouldn’t that be reassuring? It may be that there is no one answer for so many of life challenges because you may have more than one inner child, inner twins or an inner family and those needs may be in conflict.

Our language has expressions that describe not one inner child but a whole inner family.

Do you ever find yourself thinking – part of me wants to do x and part of me wants to do Y? Do you say “on the one hand I think yes and on the other hand, I think No?”

Could one of the conflicts inherent in being a human be that feeling’s and thinking’s are just not all that clear-cut? Some experiences are bitter-sweet. Sometimes you feel like laughing and crying at the same time. Could it be that the flaw in so many of these personality tests is that you have not one inner you but two or more inner you’s? Let’s look at some examples of inner dilemmas.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?

Me? Part of me is an introvert and part of me, my inner-self’s twin is an extrovert. I like being around people. I enjoy teaching and public speaking, this is the extroverted me.

But the other inner me likes to write, a rather solitary introverted behavior. There are times that I need to be around others and there are times that I need to spend some time alone watching the wind blow through the trees and the birds sing.

Which is the real me? Well, both are me and the longer I live I have come to believe that it is not in discovering the one and only one inner-me. Mentally healthy living is about embracing the various aspect of my own inner worlds.

Are you a Thinking or Feeling person?

The rational thinking part of you worries about why you are not happier. The feeling part of you wonders what you need to do to be less anxious. Occasionally I start to wonder just what I think about the way I am feeling. How do I feel about what I am thinking? Do you ever do that? Do your inner children sometimes all start acting up at once?

Life, for me anyway, turns out to be a whole lot more complicated than just figuring out what my inner-child thinks, feels or wants. Sometimes I have a family full of inner children all competing for my attention and wanting their needs met. Is it just me? Or do others of you out there sometimes think your inner child must be a twin or, heaven forbid, a set of quintuplets?

Can you see how you might have competing conflicted inner you needs and those needs are all real and all part of you? Sometimes the way to work with your inner child is to become an inner adult, love all the parts of you. Sometimes you will need to mediate between all your parts and sometimes you will need to decide which part gets its needs met just now and which part will have to wait a while.

How about yours? Is your inner-child an only child or are there other members of your inner family?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Can’t find your inner child

By David Joel Miller.

Have you misplaced your inner child?

Inner Child

Inner Child Photo courtesy of Flickr (Dave_B_)

The idea of having an inner child, and inner child work, comes and goes. Somehow this idea strikes a responsive chord in people even though there is scientific proof that there really is no inner child in any of us.

By inner child, we do not mean that there is some little creature lurking in us waiting to be fed. That makes for great Sci-Fi movies but not much reality.

All your “parts” do not grow up at the same rate.

What we should be looking for are those developmental stages, those things you should have learned as you grew up that somehow you missed out on. Look also for those good qualities that you left behind in your efforts to be “all grown up.”

Memory’s can be feeling instead of facts.

Not all our memories are filled neatly away in our heads. Some of those memories are emotional ones and those are kept throughout our bodies.

We know if you act in certain ways you are more likely to have certain feelings. Get a group of people together and have them laugh for no good reason and before long you will all be feeling happy.

So where do these phantom memories, those emotional pains from long ago, come from if not from some theoretical inner child.

You inner child did not get everything right.

One way of explaining this inner child legend is that many adult problems are the result of things that we learned between the ages of say 5 and 15 that may have worked then but do not work now.

What if the things that you learned emotionally in 3rd grade about the opposite sex or about yourself turn out to not be true?

The person who is repeatedly told they are fat, despite looking perfectly normal, even a little thin, is likely to grow up thinking they are fat and to repeatedly try to diet and lose weight. If you learned the untruth that you were fat as a child you may develop a truly terrible adult eating disorder.

Unfinished business.

Some counselors call this unfinished business, those experiences of pain, sadness acceptance and rejection that we learned in childhood, but are not able to work out as we transition into adult beings.

One danger in doing too much of the so-called “Inner child work.” Is that the more you go over a lesson of something you got wrong, the more firmly entrenched that wrong answer becomes embedded in your brain.

If you keep telling yourself “I am stupid” because as a child people repeatedly called you stupid or fat head, you may develop a personal story in which you continue to tell yourself that you are stupid. And as we all know stupid is as stupid does.

Pay attention to your self-talk.

For good or bad our brains believe what we repeatedly tell them. So if you tell yourself you can’t, you will not be able to. If you tell yourself you can, you very likely will be able to do so, as every little child learned from that little engine.

Be careful what you tell your brain you will be able to do. If you tell yourself you will fly make sure you head for the airport not jump off a roof and leave the gravity-defying to hard flapping of your arms.

If you sometimes find yourself crying like a little child for no apparent reason. If you have very immature feelings at times, don’t pay for a cat scan to find your inner child. Instead go back and look at the things you should have learned at each developmental stage and then if there were emotional lessons you did not learn, work on them.

Did you outgrow fun?

One other thing that people mean when they say they have inner child work to do is that they had some characteristics when they were young and they have lost them along the way.

If life used to be fun and it isn’t anymore. If you used to be more creative and you have lost that skill, then get in touch, not with the behaviors of the little child, but the emotions and the ways of seeing.

Practice a child-like mindset.

Try looking at everything in life as if this was the first time you had seen it. Begin each day with that curiosity you once had and you will find that everything will look new and fresh again.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Inner adult vs. inner child

fearfull and crying child before dental treatment

fearfull and crying child before dental treatment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By David Joel Miller.

Have your inner people made peace?

Lots of people talk about their need to do “inner child” work. Not many tell me they need to work on their inner adult. You need to get these two parts of you to live in peace. One rule of parenting is that parents need to be parents and children need to be children. Make sure your “inner family” gets its roles straight.

Don’t let your inner child take over running your adult life.

Your inner adult needs to run the adult parts of your life. We all have those childish parts of us. They have their good and their bad. Preserve that childish wonder about life. Children experience everything for the first time. Keep that open spirit. Children can be very creative. They can also be very selfish and hurt.

The inner child may need to cry and grieve over the past. They can stay stuck in the pain and the not wanting things to be the way they are for a long time. That childish part of you wants things to have been different.

The inner adult needs to recognize that now is not then. The past may have made you who you are but you don’t need to continue to live in the past. You need to find ways to stop letting those childhood experiences control your life now when it is the adult in you that needs to take the lead.

The inner child is that unknowing part of us that sees possibilities instead of rules. For a child, the soup dish might also make a good hat. The inner child knows that a box makes a great toy. The inner child can cry for hours over dropping a cookie in the sand.

The inner adult becomes a censor, they know toys are for playing and boxes are containers to put things in. The inner adult may be less creative unless they force themselves to stay open to other possibilities.

The inner adult is the one that picks up the sandy cookie and throws it away. The inner adult is the one that goes and gets another cookie or tells the self that “self you really don’t need another cookie.”

Your inner child does not know how to forgive its self for making mistakes. The inner child can be so afraid of criticism that it punishes itself before an adult can punish it.

Your inner adult will need to tell that inner child that it was OK to make mistakes. Your inner adult is the part that does the forgiving, the letting go and discovers that you are far more than the sum total of all the errors you have made so far.

The inner adult can have compassion and can care for the whole of you.

One way you know your inner adult is in control is when your behavior begins to become more mature and responsible.

Inner child and inner adult are only two of many possible roles you may enact each and every day. Sometimes you will be a parent or partner. Other times you will be an employee or a boss. None of these roles it the full and total you.

Get all these roles, all these potential inner selves to cooperate and work together on the same team. Just make sure when it is time to be a responsible adult you have the inner adult in control of the actions.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.