What I feel in my body does not match how I feel in my mind. It comes as a shock to let the number of my age surface to consciousness. How can this be? I still feel like I’m 18 years old some days.

Sure, I know I've transitioned though many developmental stages and my body has changed, but it seems my spirit is still young-at-heart.

Wayne Dyer used to say he would never let an old person into his body. What he meant was determining not to "think old."

We all want to stay young and vibrant, so make your inner child your valentine this year and it could change how you feel about everything in your life.

Here are a few tips to keep a young-at-heart attitude despite the number of candles on your cake this year!

1. Have a happy childhood (even if you didn't). Watch children playing and notice how totally involved they are in what they are doing; running everywhere they go. They have no idea of what they will face in their future lives. You were once like that too. Now, recapture the feelings of wide-eyed excitement, experience fully spontaneous awe of everything alive. Cut loose.
I recently was called to evaluate a 96-year-old woman who said she was depressed and thinking about death. Not to be unfeeling, but I told her to give herself permission to cut loose, live it up and have fun.

2 Laugh every day, particularly when someone asks the impossible from you. For example, your boss wants over the moon from you. Slap your knee and laugh while saying, "He wants me to do 10 hours work on my lunch hour!" Of course, you won't do 10 hours work on your lunch hour, but you will do what you can with a better attitude.

Sometimes, I feel like giving this advice to couples (but I don't). Slap your knee and laugh while saying "I've gone and married someone the exact opposite of me! (again) I'm spending all this time trying to make him/her into a clone of myself as though he's made of play dough. Give it up, girl."

3. Say yes! If you ask a young child if they can do something like drive or cook an egg, they will say they can and believe it. Somewhere in our growing up people tell us we can't do things. Then, we believe them and carry on the conversation in our heads. This is frequently called "the critic", especially if you are a writer.

So, catch yourself before you say "no" to your dreams. Try, "Probably". Or "Sure!"

Feeling young-at heart yet?

No, you still can't jump on the bed. Well, maybe just this once.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Patricia Brawley maintains a therapy and consulting practice and is a university professor. She has always been deeply interested in mind-body interaction, health psychology, creativity, consciousness and dreams. She is strongly influenced by mindfulness meditation practice, Buddhist philosophy, yoga, and humanistic values and beliefs.

Dr. Brawley is an independent scholar and researcher with an interest in phenomenological thought and methodology. She has presented professional papers at national and international conferences across the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Russia.

She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, American Mental Health Counselors Association, the Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselors Association, the Mississippi Counselors Association, the Mississippi Psychological Association and the International Human Science Research organization.

Dr. Brawley, a published author, enjoys writing and leading writing groups.  She lives in McComb, Mississippi with her husband and three cats, Kwan Yin, and Goldilocks.