Our columnist, local therapist Howard Cooper reflects on those who have less to celebrate this weekend – and offers tips and advice on how to feel less anxious

Easter signifies many things to different people. It’s a time for religious reflection, or the moment the Easter Bunny delivers chocolate eggs. For many of us, it’s a chance for relatives to gather to celebrate the family.

As a Rapid Change Therapist & Hypnotist, my work often involves helping people to deal with self-esteem, confidence, anxiety, depression or unhelpful habits that can be just coping mechanisms to distract from the drudgery of life.

Many of my clients feel troubled by feelings of loneliness, perhaps because they are grieving the loss of a loved-one, or struggling to recover following a break-up. They don’t feel like celebrating much this Easter.

It’s at times like this that I draw on memories from my childhood. I’m reminded of it when I watch my own children gather for an Easter egg hunt, a ritual that doesn’t excite me quite so much nowadays as an adult.

When I was a kid, I remember seeing new-born lambs in a meadow and chicks at Easter and thinking: “Oh so cute. Aren’t they amazing?”. Yet now, as adults, we often zoom past such sights, barely paying them any attention at all.

When you were young, more often than not you felt happy for no reason. The world was a more exciting place and everything was new. Life hadn’t yet told you that you couldn’t have that Disney castle or be a world-famous astronaut. The world represented hope and possibility.

So much of my work now is helping people reconnect with this inner child – that little part of you that remains hopeful, unsullied, and happy ‘just because’.

I think for some of us, as we grow up, we take more and more about the world for granted. We crave ever-increasingly impressive things to feel joy and excitement.

Perhaps if we were able to start to look at the world through more youthful eyes, we would begin to discover more joy, excitement, hope and opportunities than before.

Recently I was lucky enough to visit Las Vegas. I was impressed to discover the spectacularly huge jets of the fountain display outside the Bellagio Hotel. But, years ago, back when I was a little mischief-maker, I remember being equally – if not more – excited the first time I discovered that by sticking my finger in a running tap I could squirt huge jets of water right across our family bathroom. My Mum was less impressed.

Closer to home, I was at a supermarket in Borehamwood this week when I heard a five-year-old say to his Dad: “I had the cheese sandwich earlier. It was the best thing I've ever eaten in the whole world!”

Now, if you can look at a cheese sandwich this Easter weekend and get that same excited feeling inside, then perhaps you need never be unhappy again.

Now try this at home

Check out Howard Cooper’s quick thought experiment to help you view the world through a fresh perspective.

1) Find somewhere peaceful and close your eyes.

2) Remember a time when you were a child and you saw something that made you feel curious and excited.

3) Float into your childhood self and notice what you were seeing, hear what you were hearing, and let that good feeling of excitement and curiosity fill you up inside.

4) While keeping this feeling of deep childhood wonder inside, open your eyes and notice all the things around you – but see them in this new way. (Are there windows? Isn’t glass amazing? It’s a hard substance but you can see through it! Wow! Aren’t cars amazing? Isn’t it cool that when people accidently cut themselves, their body knows how to make itself heal? Televisions are beaming moving, colour images directly into your house – isn’t that incredible? Etc.)

5) When you are ready, close your eyes and float back to the here and now, keeping inside that renewed sense of wonder and awe. With the idea of being reborn, you may see the world anew.

Write to Howard with your questions for his new ‘Ask Howard’ column at askhoward@rapidchange.works