Among the so-called secrets to being able to manage the magnificent ferocity of the human experience (no matter how cosy you've got it), one of the most essential essentials is to re-access the positive-happy side of the state you were in as a 4 year old, before the school system's societal conditioning had had much of a chance to take root, when you were still relatively free of the people-pleasing compulsion to behave unnaturally to avoid punishment in the broader sense, while you were still filled with that ebullient, excited, guileless, gleeful, innocent curiosity for anything and everything, and your heart was filled with love – naturally, not because you were trying – love for being alive, love for those around you.
When you're loving being here, loving whatever's happening or isn't, even when it's all feeling a bit ugly, simply because every sensation is fascinating, that love informs you at a cellular level, and you feel imbued with innate optimism that things will turn out OK.
Living from and with love (love for being here and for whatever's or whoever's happening or isn't in the moment) will cause things to work out for you far more smoothly, swiftly and of course enjoyably.
But let us not see it with binary, either-or vision. It doesn't preclude using all your hard-won skills and basic common sense at the same time. But it does provide an option to operating from fear like a rat – in fact even rats aren't that scared – an option to living in a state of continual worry and unhealthy self-compression/obsession (the real meaning of depression).
I once asked my beautiful late ex-father-in-law, Roy, with whom I remained close friends till he died at 94, what it was that drove him, when he came out of the RAF at the end of the war without a penny to his name, and 30 years later found himself a multimillionaire - “Was it ambition, Roy?” He thought for a moment. “No, Steve, it was excitement about what I was doing”.
That's the excitement of the inner 4-year old.
Now I could get banal on you here, as would be the conventional way to go, and give you an exercise to help you re-access your inner 4-year-old, but you don't need one – because you never really stopped being that child, you just pretended to – so stop pretending to be a grown-up for a moment and just be who you are – that child.
To facilitate this, however, it helps to sit right back within so you're occupying the whole of the rear sector of your body and brain, whence you're now able to get a proper view of yourself from the inside. In the front lift your thymus – that is, raise your breastbone a tad, and it'll open the invisible space in the middle of your breastbone and allow your love to flow free. Then just breathe more slowly, relax your muscles more and more, and before you know it you'll be skipping about happy as a lark.