You’re vibrant, you’re energized, and you have a real zest for life.
It sounds like you are one of the lucky ones who are young at heart.
What does it mean to be a kid at heart?
Whilst everyone has to grow up, you can stay young at heart.
And guess what?
There are real benefits to having a youthful spirit.
Research has found that people who feel young at heart live longer.
It all comes down to a state of mind. It’s about thinking and behaving younger than your actual age.
Why is a youthful outlook so powerful?
Assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, says how we see ourselves is so important to the choices we make.
“Feeling younger or older itself seems to have an effect on our health…When people see themselves as old, they’re more likely to abandon physical challenges which feel difficult, such as, ‘I don’t think I should ski anymore, I’m an old man.’ When people feel younger psychologically, even if physical exercise is challenging, they’re more likely to pursue it, believing no pain no gain”.
So even though being young at heart starts in the mind, it spreads to the body.
10 signs you’re young at heart
1) You’re always getting into mischief
Mischief shouldn’t be confused with behaving badly.
No, I’m talking about those playful mishaps that can seem to find you.
You’ll still happily climb a tree— and get stuck up there.
You enjoy pulling silly pranks on your loved ones.
Cooking always results in making a total mess in the kitchen.
You go out for a walk and manage to come home covered in mud.
Friends and family will probably describe you as a bit of a handful.
But that’s because you have managed to hold on to that exuberance and boundary-pushing of youth.
2) You’re endlessly curious
Every parent knows the “why” stage that kids go through.
No matter what explanation you offer, there is yet another “but why?” lurking behind it.
“Mummy, why is the sky blue?”
“Daddy, why does it rain?”
The countless questions, exhausting as they can be, are a sign that their brain is growing.
Innocent fascination is a worthwhile trait that some lucky few take into adulthood with them.
Thanks to that curiosity, the young at heart get to experience life in new ways and through new eyes all the time.
If you’re forever young then you probably still love to learn new things.
Everything has the potential to fascinate you. You like to try new things out and go to new places.
Life is one big puzzle and you enjoy nothing more than trying to figure it all out.
3) You want life to be an adventure
The truth is that everybody’s adventure looks different.
For one person that might be renovating their own home, for another, it might be a trip around the world.
But you never tire of exploration.
You want to grow, experience, and see what the world has to offer.
Having an adventurous nature is all about expanding your mind, and building up your bravery.
Plus it’s fun!
It’s all too tempting to trade adventure for security as we get older.
Sure, we may need a little of both in life. But often we neglect the adventure side.
That’s not the case for people who are young at heart.
They know that: “The danger of adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort”.
4) You still enjoy your playtime
Adventure sports, gardening, gaming, crafts…and countless more.
The truth is that a lot of adult hobbies are just playing rebranded.
And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
These are our creative outlets in life and a sign that you’re still young at heart.
Maybe you enjoy getting into the great outdoors. Perhaps you have a passion for drawing. It could be that you can happily play video games for hours on end.
Whatever it is that you love to play around with, the important part is that you do still play.
Why should you make time for hobbies?
Just like for kids, playtime also boosts adults’ confidence and self-esteem. They help us to switch off and reduce stress.
In short: they enrich our lives.
5) You love fearlessly
Most of us collect a certain amount of baggage as we age.
The rejections, the heartbreaks —- they all add up.
It can mean you end up putting up walls around your heart. Invisible barriers to try to protect yourself.
But perhaps the biggest testament to being young at heart is the courage to love.
Love wholeheartedly, without shame, without fear, and without question.
The love of a child is innocent. It isn’t self-conscious. It doesn’t want anything in return.
If you are able to show vulnerability to others and open your heart to them, it’s a strong sign you are young at heart.
In the words of best-selling author and researcher Brene Brown:
“To love is to be vulnerable, to give someone your heart and say, ‘I know this could hurt so bad, but I’m willing to do it; I’m willing to be vulnerable and love you’…When we lose our capacity for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding. It becomes scary to let ourselves feel it.”
6) You don’t pretend to be something you’re not
As we grow up we tend to step into roles.
We define ourselves with labels. We put ourselves into categories and boxes.
But the problem is that we often end up hiding behind masks.
We think we need to act a certain way or be a certain person. And that can take you further away from your true self.
The wonderful thing about little kids is they are less self-conscious about simply being who they are.
They haven’t yet experienced the burden of feeling like they need to hide who they are, just to fit in.
That’s why you are most definitely still young at heart if you aren’t afraid to be yourself.
7) Change excites you as much as it scares you
Children are great at adapting to new circumstances.
I guess it makes sense.
It all change when you’re young. Every day brings something new.
But experience, as we age, can bring weariness. And adults can start to feel mighty uncomfortable at the disruption change inevitably brings.
Part of it is even biological.
It seems humans are hard-wired to fear change. That’s because part of the brain interprets it as a threat and releases the hormones for fear, fight, or flight.
But the reality is that change is not only necessary but inevitable.
People who are young at heart are much better equipped to not only deal with change but thrive on it.
They realize that shaking things up once in a while is what keeps life fresh, and you on your toes.
Life is ever-changing and never static.
If you are young at heart, you probably find it much easier to go with the flow.
8) You always try to stay in the moment
To be fair, kids don’t have bills to pay, next year’s family holiday to save up for, or a full-time job to juggle.
So it’s understandable why adults end up focusing more on the future and the past than we do on the present.
The intense energy that children have when they focus on whatever they’re doing is tangible.
In science terms, we call this flow state.
It’s where you become completely absorbed in something. And kids often master it.
If you too can get lost in the moment, then another word for this is simply presence.
An ability to stay present can even help to keep you young at heart.
9) You see the wonder all around you
Life truly is full of magic.
Sadly some of us stop seeing it. But others continue to be mesmerized by the little daily miracles offered up.
The way the sunlight dances upon the lake. The vast expanse of the ocean. The sound of songbirds. The breeze as it rustles through the trees.
Even the most seemingly mundane items can become a wonderland.
Buy a child a fancy toy and they’ll often be just as excited by the box it came in.
Because that box can be anything their imagination allows.
They truly see the wonder in life. And if you are young at heart, you probably do too.
10) You think that anything is possible if you put your mind to it
How many of our dreams get crushed?
At some stage along the way, many of us swap our fantasies for a more “realistic” option.
Whilst not all dreams come true, there’s a lot to be said for simply having the dreams in the first place.
A hopeful attitude gets you so much further.
Daring to look beyond your horizon will carry you on.
Perhaps it’s the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed one.
You have the self-belief and faith in life that you can accomplish remarkable things.
You never think it’s too late or that you’re too old to do something.
You realize that whilst there is still breath in your body, anything is possible.
To conclude: What makes someone young at heart?
It’s not one thing you do or don’t do.
Neither is it about being childish or immature, that’s something quite different altogether.
You could say being young at heart is an essence you have.
And you bring that youthful essence to everything you do.