Off the Bucket List

As of today, I can officially cross off a line item on my bucket list. I have published a book!  BE HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, AND MORE PRODUCTIVE; 365 INSPIRING IDEAS is available in print on Amazon!!

It’s a solid compilation of my blog here – the series I wrote from February through this past February. As I moved through that project, I was often asked if I would turn it into a book and was finally convinced when a few people specifically spoke about how they wanted to give it as a gift in book form. Well… here it is!

Be Happier Cover Final 3D

There are a couple of new ideas that weren’t part of the original blog as I found a couple of duplicates and I deleted one or two that were too similar to others. Overall, it’s a paperback book (416 pages) that offers suggestions geared to promote a better sense of overall well-being.

It’s the kind of book that you can use as a reference, send as a gift, keep on your nightstand, or work your way through (if you haven’t already). It’s the kind of book you’ll a couple of pages of and then try and figure out a time or place to try one of the suggestions. It’s the kind of book that may make you roll your eyes, laugh out loud, and learn from – all in one.

Aside from a shameless plug… I hope you’ll consider this post inspiration for accomplishing those things on your own bucket list. I read somewhere once that if 10 people have an idea – three will act on it – but only ONE will follow through.  While I have a long, long list of things that I only acted on… the printing of my book is a major follow through piece for me. I hope it inspires you to follow through on something near and dear to your heart!!

If you’ve been a supporter – thanks so much! You’re part of why this happened! <3

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TTAHYou can also listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, orFeedburner

LOVE does not Hurt!

LOVE doesn’t hurt you. A person who doesn’t know how to love or who is in pain may hurt you. Be a person who loves anyway.

I love this quote (author unknown) about love and pain because it is so true. Love does not hurt. Period.

love hurts

Loving energy only produces loving feelings. Just like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states:  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Anything else… does not originate from loving energy. It comes from pain and fear. It comes from not knowing love. Someone who has rarely experienced kindness may not know how to be kind. Likewise, if they don’t have a history of being supported – how do they know that supporting others is an expression of love?

When we don’t experience consistent and pure loving energy as we grow, we are likely not to extend it as adults. This is evident over and over again in people who claim to love yet they engage in behavior that is very unloving. Think about it…

A parent says “I love you” and then they are demanding and critical. A child makes a connection between the two.

A parent says “I love you” and then doesn’t listen or isn’t attentive. A child believes they are related.

In this way, a child grows up to understand that love is demanding, critical, and inattentive. They don’t think twice about engaging in that behavior and expressing love at the same time. For that adult, true loving energy was scarce and consequently, remains unlearned. They will continue the pattern with the next generation unless they are able to experience true love.

True love is peaceful. It is joyful. And it is always a better choice. We are born in a natural state of knowing love and then learn otherwise. Getting back there may take a bit of work as we unplug all of the correlations that were made as we learned. One by one, it’s important to disconnect the idea that love is something other than patience, compassion, understanding, and kindness and practice how to extend loving energy under all conditions.

If it’s ‘true’ love – it will always feel good.

TTAHYou can listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

Image by Pexels on Pixabay

#1 Practice Mutuality

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#1

Practice Mutuality

Mutuality is defined as…

The sharing of a feeling, action, or relationship between two or more parties.”

It’s a reciprocal exchange of intent, energy, and commitment in friendship, familial relationships, and marriage. The pinnacle of mutuality is when your interest is in the love, respect, support, and trust of another individual. We do this easily in friendship. We encourage, support, trust, love, and respect the autonomy and independence of our friends.

Love Relationships

In order to practice mutuality in romantic relationships, you get up every day with the goal of helping your loved one have their best day ever. Your focus is on supporting them to achieve their highest goals, to be their best selves and you do this no. matter. what. It can be hard in those love relationships that endure day to day stressors and get more complicated over time as we combine finances, raise children, and try to balance home and work. 

Reciprocal

Mutuality is the based on the concept of reciprocation. You have my back… I have yours. Do onto me what you would have me do onto you. Etcetera. When I feel supported, I am willing to support. When I feel loved, I am offering love back. When I am respected, I respect. When I am appreciated, I will be appreciative. It works beautifully under those conditions and it fosters great respect. Without reciprocation, mutuality takes on a whole new look.

Self-respect

In the best example of mutuality, both people in the relationship are focused on one another, respecting the space, independence, goals, and autonomy of the other. If you are in a relationship where it is not reciprocated, then the key is to kick self-respect into high gear and practice mutuality personally.

In this case, it may look like this…  “I respect you but if you can’t be as respectful of me, I must practice self-respect”. “I am encouraging you to reach your goals but if you can’t encourage me than I must encourage myself”. “ I am supporting you to be your best and will continue to support myself to grow and learn”. Sometimes, the mutuality you engage in is with yourself by setting boundaries that demonstrate a respect for self.

Relationships

The self-respect examples I list are more often for those relationships that  you don’t necessarily choose; family, boss, neighbor, etc… In a romantic relationship, the practice of mutuality is one of the only ways to foster a happy and healthy bond. It creates an environment where both of your needs for love, respect, support, and autonomy are being encouraged and developed. You are building one another up – not with hot air, but with energy that binds. It will ‘feel’ good.

For best results in every relationship, it’s important to …

Practice Mutuality.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#2 Stop Overthinking

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#2

Stop Overthinking

Do you think a thought and then ‘run with it’? Do you thoughts ever take on a life of their own? Do you find yourself getting anxious or worried?  Do you have a hard time focusing or sleeping? Do thoughts get stuck in your mind and go round and round? These are all symptoms of overthinking.

Consequences

Overthinking is generally not good for your overall health. It can cause anxiety, depression, and persistent worry. It promotes obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors. It can strain relationships, work performance, and self-worth. To cope with overthinking, many people try to escape the distress by abusing food, alcohol, or drugs.

Notice

The first step to stopping the pattern of overthinking is to notice when you do it. Take another look at the list in the first paragraph and honestly assess your own processes. When does it happen? About what topic(s)? What is your response? How do you (if you do) get them under control? How do they prevent you from living your best life?

Facts

Are your thoughts based on facts? Or Fears? Are they happening now? Or at some point in the future? Stay focused on the facts that exist in the here and now. When you are facing facts, it’s easier to problem solve. There aren’t any real solutions to fantastical problems.

Distraction

Get busy! There’s only so much space in your brain for active thinking. When your thoughts go into busy mode, overrule them with direct action on something else; pulling energy away from the overrunning thinking. The more involved you are in the distraction, the better.

Meditation

When we are overthinking, it’s not really the thoughts that are problematic, but our feelings and associations we have with the thoughts that are the problem. If we can learn to become observers of the thoughts, their impact is reduced. Meditation is one of the best ways to achieve this. Using this technique may allow you to detach from the thoughts so that they become nothing more than something that moves through your brain.

We all do it from time to time but if your life is negatively impacted by too many thoughts too much of the time, follow these steps in an effort to …

Stop overthinking.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#3 Be Introspective

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#3

Be Introspective

Perhaps the single most important aspect of personal growth and development – the cornerstone of authentic happiness – is the ability to be introspective. The willingness to observe one’s own emotional and mental processes demonstrates courage in many cases… sometimes, there’s a lot going on in that brain.

The 5 W’s

When making the effort to look within, it’s important to be curious – not judgmental – about the five W’s… Who? What? When? Where? And Why? It goes like this:

Who is triggering me?

What was the behavior?
When did it happen?

Where were we?

Why is it a trigger?

Or

Who are the people of my tribe?

What do I like the most about them?

When do I feel the most supported?

Where do I feel it [in my body]?

Why is it important to me?

You may not ask the same questions about each and every situation. Sometimes, you also want to ask How? How much control do I truly have?

Self Awareness

Introspection develops self-awareness and self-awareness is necessary for growth and development in both your behavior and in your spirit. As we ask questions and seek awareness, it’s important to be an observer, not a judge. If you discover something that you don’t like, ask more questions about how you might change it and take action.

If you get stuck, ask for professional assistance. Sometimes an objective fresh perspective is all that is standing in the way of discovery.

If you’re looking for more joy, for better relationships, and for increased self-awareness, start with the effort to …

Be introspective.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#4  Know Your Ancestry

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#4

Know Your Ancestry

It used to be that people were excited to get their ‘palm’ read – now it’s trendy to have your DNA read. Just by spitting in a little tube, you can identify where your ancestral roots originated. Why bother?

History

Whether it’s a family tree or DNA, your family history is important. It’s the anchor of your ship… the chemical composition of your existence. It offers information about your great-great-uncle Joe or connect the dots between your English and Irish heritage centuries back.

Genealogy

The most elementary part of knowing your ancestry is to record your direct lineage. Your father, his father, his father and so on… Do the same with your mother and hers… Connect those lines as far back as you can. When you run into a stumbling block, try the DNA  route to run the lines as far as they can go.

DNA

Whether you choose 23&Me or another service, researching your cellular structure offers even more information. Instead of learning that your great, great, great, great, Aunt Florence was the first woman to captain a ship out of Naples, you might discover that your Italian heritage is closer to the French than it is to the Baltic even though she was he hero of that port.

DNA even allows you the genetic history of disease influence. No matter if your ancestry stems from Jewish, African, European, or Middle Eastern – the results can indicate propensity for issues carried by others in that gene group.

Story

At the very least, knowing your ancestry is a tool to help you construct your ‘story’ – the story of you and of how you came to be. It’s a more advanced version – a 3D illustration – of you. Knowing a little about the people that came before you gives depth to who you are.

Can you imagine all those souls that were in front of you? Do you know their story? Their contribution to your being? It’s possible that you’ll be forever changed if you only take the time to …

Know your ancestry.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#5 Get Insurance

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#5

Get Insurance

When I first got married at the age of 22, a couple dudes in ties knocked on our front door and spent two hours or more trying to convince us that we needed life insurance. We were young and invincible, expecting our first child and really naive about the realities of the world. We were also broke so they left that day without a sale and we didn’t really think twice.

Hard Lesson

Fast forward two years as I found myself a 24 year old widow with an 18 mo. old baby and no life insurance except for the little bit of money that was automatically a benefit for a Navy Reservist. It was a hard lesson and yet it was a great testimony for the years that I ironically, sat at kitchen tables explaining why people needed to think about life insurance and financial planning.

When to Buy?

You’re never too young for life insurance – in fact, that’s the very best time to buy it because the odds that you’ll die are low – so insurance is cheap. You don’t need much if you don’t have many responsibilities – just enough to cover your debt and burial expense (which, can easily run into the 5 digit range). However, the more responsibility you have, the more insurance you need.

Purpose

Insurance is explicitly for the purpose of covering your behind when life throws curveballs. Whether it’s health insurance, disability insurance, long term care insurance, rental insurance, theft insurance, or life insurance… we never know when we’ll need coverage.

Risk

Technically, you only need to cover those things that you are willing to risk. Certainly, I never considered it a ‘real’ risk that my 23 year old husband would die; nor did he. But it happened. Accidents happen. We’ve all heard horror stories of people who were involved in an accident and many of us think it “can’t happen to me”. How much are you willing to risk?

Consider the risk you’re willing to take and then speak to a trusted advisor about insurance. Everybody needs at least some. Think about your car, your home, your belongings, your income, your health, and your life. You’re likely to sleep better and enjoy a higher quality of life knowing that you’re protected after you…

Get insurance.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#6 Stop Being Defensive

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#6

Stop Being Defensive

In this series, I’ve talked about Identifying Your Triggers, Arguing Effectively, and Emotional Intelligence. They all speak to mastering awareness in your communication. Perhaps the most important and impactful element of this is the ability to stop getting defensive.

Defenses

We experience a sense of needing to ‘protect’ ourselves whenever we become afraid and perceive that we are at risk for losing something. Whenever we imagine that we are in danger of having less of or never having something… we also may feel afraid and we tend to want to fight. When we feel attacked, we want to fight back. Emotionally speaking, we aren’t taught effective strategies very often and unless the other person we are speaking with is also equipped with similar strategies, the communication is sure to break down quickly. The conversation can resemble a war zone.

Notice Defensiveness

First, you must make the effort to understand when you become defensive and how it feels in your body. Does your blood pressure rise? Your shoulders? Is there a tightness in your jaw? Does your heart race? Notice that they are the same symptoms of fear. It’s your parasympathetic nervous system getting ready for a fight.

Step Back

When you feel your body tightening, that’s the moment you know it’s imperative that you step back. Take a deep breath. Count to five. Get Grounded. Remember who you are – who you want to be. Think about something you love or really like about the person in front of you. If it’s a stranger or an estranged individual, remember that by engaging you are giving them YOUR power. Stop.

Back Down

Backing down from a confrontation demonstrates emotional mastery – not weakness. Think about how much intention it takes to get to this point after your fear or fight is activated. It takes great strength to step back and gain composure. Adopt the attitude that you will not engage in a confrontation infused with negative energy.

Once you take the defensive energy out of an interaction, you’ll be amazed at how it dies down – it’s akin to a fire without oxygen. Your confrontations turn into constructive discussions and problem solving when you get to the point where you can…

Stop being defensive.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#7 Develop Your EQ

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#7

Develop Your EQ

You’ve heard about IQ – your Intelligence quotient – for sure. And, unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard about EQ which, is the term for Emotional [Intelligence] quotient. There is a segment of psychological professionals that consider it more important actually, than traditional intelligence.

Defined

EQ was popularized in the mid 90’s by Dan Goleman’s book outlining research by Salavoy & Mayer. It is defined by the ability to “recognize, understand and manage our emotions and to recognize, understand and influence the emotion of others.”

Emotions

When we understand and manage our emotions, we are more likely to direct our thought toward positive affect. Unyielding emotions diminish cognition, impede our decision making skills, and interfere with our ability to communicate effectively.

Development

Very few of us have achieved emotional mastery and so we’re likely to benefit from practicing on a regular basis by doing the following as often as possible.

  1. Be super aware of your own emotions. Know them. Label them.
  2. Consider perspective at every opportunity.
  3. Be curious about how others think and feel.
  4. Stop and think before you speak. Speak intentionally.
  5. Stop getting defensive.
  6. Use your voice with respect and responsibility.

Each of these suggestions are to be used in conjunction with one another in as many situations as you can remember to employ them; regardless of the situation. Indeed, it’s when life presents us with the most difficult or challenging scenarios that we must dig deep and practice, practice, practice.

Emotional Intelligence has been touted throughout corporate environments for almost two decades but it’s not yet taught or developed in schools or traditional environments even though it impacts communication in the most positive ways. EQ is a predictor of success and has been shown to improve mental health overall in research. More self knowledge leads to more happiness and that leads to better life satisfaction no matter who you are. Looking for more happiness?…

Develop your EQ.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.