Ask Dr. Julie

Childlike Joy Isn’t Just for Kids…

I’m not gonna lie…December used to be my favorite month because Christmas was one of my favorite holidays. If you’re asking why I’m saying it “used to be my favorite” it’s because I have let all the end of year stressors ruin my love of this month and holiday season. So, as a fellow flawed human who is always trying to better myself, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, I am going to try to make this year different!

Why is this important?

There are studies that suggest that people with a quality of neoteny actually lived longer. What is neoteny? It’s the retention of juvenile features well into adulthood. I know…that doesn’t sound great…but in this situation, apparently it is.

Let me clarify on neoteny in this context. It’s not saying that being immature and having only capability of concrete thinking is a good thing. It’s not saying having immature or stunted physical growth is good. What this means is that adults who maintain some of the characteristics of children lived longer. What are these characteristics? Let’s dive into that shall we?

Some of the characteristics are:

Curiosity about life

Optimism

Flexibility of attitude, behavior and knowledge

Resilience

I find these traits super interesting because if you look at children, they seem to bounce back from issues quicker, they are malleable in what they do, they see things as fresh/new/interesting, they are curious about how things function, and they don’t accept things as it is, they want to see if there’s more. These qualities are so refreshing and so often we say that having children in our life helps us to look at the world differently, even more positively. The question is, why do we not just look at the world that way anyways?

This less about medical issues and more about how we approach our life…and the reason that this is a medical topic still, is because how we approach our life impacts our health.

For me, yes there are end of year taxes and bonuses and gift shopping and family stressors…but there is also beautiful white snow, crispness of cold air, sunlight glinting off fallen snow, warm jackets, carolers, charitable giving, generosity and kindness to each other, holiday lights, holiday parties, warm fuzzy sweaters, crackling of fire in fireplace…these are all beautiful. They shouldn’t be discounted and ignored because we have stressors. In actuality, if we felt and experienced and remembered these things more, it probably would make our stressors more palatable and manageable.

I don’t know about you…but I’m going to try to bring out some neoteny traits this holiday month. Childlike glee doesn’t have to be for just children…we can still experience that so that our daily stressors aren’t as dark amidst our childlike glow.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

.
ACCESSIBILITY