#187 Swing on a Swing

A mental break is often just the thing we need to interrupt a stress response and/or regroup our energy.

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.

#187

Swing on a swing

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem called “Up in a Swing” and published it in A Child’s Garden of Versus in 1885. It was one of the first poems I recall memorizing and I cannot hop on a swing – even today – without thinking of that poem.

Remember

Most playground swings will fit adult behinds and there is a certain charm to partaking in the childhood delight of moving through the air. Close your eyes and imagine for a moment the sensation you remember from the last time you played on a swing. Do you remember how you learned to ‘push’ your legs to gain height? Do you recall jumping off the swing? Seeing who could jump further or from the highest point?

Flying

Swings may be one of the first opportunities that humans had to experience movement off the ground. The freedom we feel as the swing moves through the air, pushing it against our face and lifting us up and across the ground may have been the inspiration for bigger and more industrious flight.

Auto Mode

In those few moments that you allow yourself the childish delight of swinging, you allow your mind to take a break. It will automatically settle into auto mode and recall the body movements you learned in childhood to lift and push the swing across the ground. It will automatically flashback to youthful memories of play and simplicity; perhaps offering you a much needed mental break.

Mental Break

A mental break is often just the thing we need to interrupt a stress response and/or regroup our energy. This is another suggestion that will get you outdoors in the fresh air – good for your body and spirit. It will induce pleasant memories and perhaps laughter – increasing serotonin levels. The soothing movement will help reduce cortisol levels – good for your mind and body.

If you find yourself passing a playground, remind yourself to take a few minutes to give yourself a short mental break and …

Swing on a swing.

 

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

#188 Ride in a Hot Air Balloon

In fact, when we face fears, add variety, and accept some level of risk in our lives – we ARE happier.

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.

#188

Ride in a hot air balloon

Is this one of those things on your “before I die list”? Have you done it? Maybe the question is ‘why’? Why would someone leave earth in an open air contraption without any intent of going from point A to point B? Shortly after the USA was born as a country, the first hot air balloon was launched in Europe. By the end of the 18th century, balloonists were crossing the English Channel and traveling for thrills sake. It took almost 200 more years for ballooning to make significant impacts in terms of height and distance. Even though they’ve been recorded at speeds close to 250 mph., they do not allow for convenient transportation. So why bother?

The Thrill

Ballooning is a fantastic hobby for thousands of people and a career for few. It’s considered a sport and there is an industry built around its competitions. Yet the real business lies in offering a thrill to those of us who rarely leave the ground outside of a commercial airliner. As you lift off the ground, there is little sound outside of the flame providing the ‘hot air’ that is generating the lift. I’m told it is a smooth rise – void of the turbulence we experience in an airplane. (No, I haven’t actually taken off in one – yet.) The scenery – often just after sunrise or later in the day at dusk – is accentuated by the sun and allowing you a birds eye (or drone) view of the countryside.

Fears

If you are like me – there’s a certain fear of flying involved when you stand in an open basket many hundreds of feet above ground level. After researching for this post, I’m more convinced of the safety elements inherent to ballooning. The pilot of a hot air balloon is trained along with the pilot of your jetliner… their aircraft is just a bit different. Indeed, it is reported to be even more safe than flying in an actual airplane.

Benefits

This suggestion relates to making your life more enjoyable, thereby increasing a sense of overall well-being. In fact, when we face fears, add variety, and accept some level of risk in our lives – we ARE happier. Perhaps this activity will help you step outside your comfort zone, allow you to cross something off your bucket list, help you surprise someone, or spend quality time with a loved one… again, all elements associated with an increase in overall happiness.

If you are looking for an activity for a ‘special occasion’ or something to add to your Christmas list why not …

Ride in a hot air balloon.

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

Photo by James Besser on Unsplash

#189 Go to a Salt Room

Halotherapy has indicated benefits for a number of respiratory and skin ailments; in-particular allergies and eczema.

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.

#189

Go to a Salt Room

You may ask “what?” as you conjure images of a nice big Porterhouse steak hot off the grill with a shaker of pink Himalayan salt… but no – that’s not the intent, goal, or process behind a ‘salt room’.

Halotherapy

Salt rooms offer Halotherapy which, is a process of sitting in a room filled with fine particles of salt. In doing so, you inhale micro particles (similar to breathing ocean air) and it settles on your skin as it does after an ocean swim. Salt is known to reduce inflammation both when inhaled and on your body. [Mosquito bites heal much faster after ocean swimming.]

Relaxation

During your stay at the Salt Room, you’ll be sitting comfortably in a chair or on a yoga mat and the session is often coupled with a guided meditation, shifting your relaxation into high gear. Taking this ‘quiet’ time for yourself is a fantastic addition to your self care regimen.

Benefits

Halotherapy has indicated benefits for a number of respiratory and skin ailments; in-particular allergies and eczema.  It’s safe for people of all ages and there are no reported negative side effects. So far, there is only anecdotal evidence for the benefits of Salt therapy but the testimonies from people who have experienced their benefit is difficult to ignore.  

Popularity Increasing

Prior to a year ago, I’d never heard of halotherapy and I’m now aware of two rooms within reasonable driving distance of my home. There’s a high probability of one near you. At the very least, a number of spas have introduced some form of salt therapy in their offerings. The combined benefit of meditation would direct me toward a full functioning location and so I encourage you to take a step out – try something new – and …

Go to a Salt Room.

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

#190 Go Fishing

It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production…

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.

#190

Go Fishing

I thought it a good idea to share this tip before summer ends so if you are so inclined, you can make plans to give it a try. For some, fishing is an active sport, frequently practiced. For many more of us, it has yet to be enjoyed. There may be an ‘art’ to fishing but this suggestion is more aligned for those of you who wish to have the experience versus develop a talent – but hey… you may find your passion here.

Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you walk into a sporting goods store and know nothing as there are a variety of ‘types’ of fishing; freshwater, deep sea, fly, surf, shore, ice, boat, rock… each one sporting an individual technique and equipment type. But for most of us, keeping it simple and basic would be a good call.

Here’s a good guide on how to get started:

 

Catching Fish

In almost every case, a fishing license is required so that’s the first step. Many of the places that sell bait also sell licenses for those over the minimum age requirement. I was always a bit squeamish about putting  worms on a hook but soon discovered that there is a tool for that (looking very much like tweezers). If you are fortunate enough to actually catch fish there are size requirements (length) for most species. Catch and release is where my interest lies even though I do love to eat fresh fish… cleaning them is an entirely different story and I’ll leave that to the people with stronger convictions than me.

Why bother?

So if you are just going through all that effort but not eating your catch, why bother? Clearly, the challenge is enticing to some… the thrill of the chase – or catch. Strengthening a technique or skill – practice – is always good. But there’s more…. The development of patience. Fishing takes patience. It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production, cardiovascular health, and may improve overall body strength (assuming you’re catching big fish). It encourages family bonding which, boosts immune functioning. It may incorporate laughter, implant fond memories, and encourage travel… more tenets of good living.

Sound worthwhile? Certainly worth a try… grab a friend or family member, do a little research, watch the video above and …

Go fishing!

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

Photo by Dieter Kühl on Unsplash

#191 Focus on Self-Awareness

Behavior is only dysfunctional to the extent that it impacts your ability to have the life or relationships that you desire …

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.

#191

Focus on Self-Awareness

Some might think that ‘ignorance is bliss’, that ‘denial is safe’ yet living in a state of either can lead to rather dysfunctional coping and/or relating. As a psychotherapist, I find that a number of people entering my office are experiencing one or the other albeit, often unconsciously. Even though it may seem rather counter-intuitive – being ‘aware’ is the emotionally healthier option and so much of my work is to help people become “aware”.

Self Protection

If I could teach people in the world any one skill, it would be an ability to become self aware. It’s not necessarily an easy task! Sometimes, we don’t like what we see when we are able to see everything. That’s where avoidance and denial come into play – they protect us from seeing what feels bad. Who wants to feel awful about themselves?

No Judgement

The only reason we don’t’ want to ‘see’ these things is because on some level – we are judging them. Think about it. If you get a tattoo that you love but your mom hates – no problem. You like it so there’s ‘no judgment’. If you get one during a drunken stupor even though you’ve vowed never to ‘ink’ yourself, you may have a judgment about it and seek to cope with your own disappointment by creating a story that makes it ‘ok’ for you. The preferable scenario is that you simply accept both the drunken stupor and the impulse to get a tattoo without any negative feeling.

Frankly, regret is a waste of your emotional energy. For most of us, we do what we do in each moment because it makes sense based on what we know/feel – at that point in time!! And then, like Maya Angelou said “when you know better, you do better”.

Self-honesty

Even though it may be difficult, seeing yourself clearly – how you think, why you think and feel the way you do, why you engage and react in the manner that is common for you – those are important to know. Nothing changes unless you know it exists. Behavior is only dysfunctional to the extent that it impacts your ability to have the life or relationships that you desire so if it works for you… it’s ok. However, if you are missing a piece of that link then a good hard look at YOU is in order. And since we are always changing in response to our relationships and our environment… it’s an ongoing process.

If your goal is to live with authenticity, then its imperative that you develop a lifelong goal to …

Focus on self-awareness.

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

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

#192 Sew Something

Similar to knowing the basics with a hammer and saw… this is a basic skill that comes in handy more than you’ll realize.

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.

#192

Sew something

Can you sew on a button? Are you a dressmaker? Or perhaps your ability lies with making curtains which mostly requires sewing a straight line. Most of us have been introduced to a sewing machine at some point – at least in our school years depending how old you are. By the 1980’s children in the U.S. were exposed to wood shop and Home economics regardless of gender. Introductions to the tools in both arenas were made. Yet, for many people – that was the first and last time they held a needle and thread.

Basics

A client came in not long ago and asked if I had a stapler… when I offered it to her she bent down and promptly stabled the hem of her skirt back into place and we proceeded to speak about this very topic. She didn’t know who to fix the hem and needed a temporary solution until she could drop her skirt by the tailor shop. Truthfully, a hem stitch, a seam stitch, and a button stitch are all pretty basic and will save both time and money.

Cost Benefit

I’m not sure there’s great value these days in sewing clothing unless you are hard to fit. Fabric is expensive and clothes are cheap (relatively speaking) so it doesn’t make sense to make your own bluejeans. However, if you are tall and it’s difficult to find things long enough – knowing how to put together a skirt or a pair of slacks is really beneficial. Knowing how to hem or take a tuck in a dress is great if your shape isn’t perfectly hourglass.

For the Home

Perhaps the greatest benefit is in knowing how to create products for your home. Curtains are super expensive and crazy simple to sew. Knowing how to run a few straight seams across a length of fabric means you can have almost any kind of curtain you desire. I’ve seen people make valances and drapes from the most unusual fabric source… old bedspreads, flower sacks, and even tee shirts. Pinterest is full of creative ideas and once again, YouTube will have a video showing you how to manifest the notion.

With a few simple swipes of the sewing machine and a couple of hand stitches, you can have new throw pillows on your sofa or bed. Even pajama bottoms are quick and easy… for years everyone in the family had matching ones each Christmas.

Similar to knowing the basics with a hammer and saw… this is a basic skill that comes in handy more than you’ll realize. Dust off your sewing machine or pick up a needle and thread, grab some practice fabric, turn on YouTube and …

Sew something.

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

#193 Be Curious

I knew some friends in high school that were curious about their ability to ignite the gas they personally produced. Yes… they tried to light their farts …

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.

#193

Be Curious

Have you heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat?” I actually grew up hearing that quite often and never paid much heed to it but I find that many people are hesitant to be curious. The  phrase is credited to an English comedy play from 1598 and I can’t help but wonder if it propagated with the simple intent of keeping wandering children or nosy neighbors in line.

New Things

What we know today is that curiosity is one of the fundamental attributes of happy people in part, because when we wonder, we are apt to try new things and when we try new things, there is more novelty in our lives. Novelty keeps things  new and fresh – boredom is rare in curios people. People who are curious are constantly learning, exploring, or trying new things; expanding knowledge and boundaries.

Empathy

When we are curious about people or perspectives, we ask more questions. People who are curious tend to have more friends and deeper relationships because they have – in their curiosity – developed an ability to delve deeper into the conversations that build emotional intimacy even in platonic relationships. As their perspective expands, they are able to have more empathy; a trait that also leads to more consistent reports of well-being.

Personal Growth

Your talent for and desire for curiosity may determine your capacity for personal growth. Researchers have identified a correlation between the two. It seems like a no-brainer because if we don’t ever wonder who we are, why we are, or how to change – then growth simply won’t happen.

Many of the ideas I’ve written about to make your life happier and more productive have been identified as a result of people being curious… “I wonder what would happen if I….” and then a sense of satisfaction, comfort, and/or peace sets in and you feel happy. Trial and error… not everything we are curious about will be something that we really wanted to know. I knew some friends in high school that were curious about their ability to ignite the gas they personally produced. Yes… they tried to light their farts … it didn’t go well.

Other than that… maybe you don’t need to know that… in most other things, your life will be enriched if you find the energy to …

Be Curious.

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