#106 Check Your Posture

It will feel good unless your muscles have already begun to adjust to an abnormal configuration.

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.

#106

Check your posture

The next time you are watching a talk show of some nature (i.e., the morning news or Ellen), take notice of how tall and straight everyone is sitting. Compare that to everyone seated in the restaurant or the Starbucks you next visit. I suspect the difference is mostly the state of awareness that exists in the personalities on television. Those of us eating in a restaurant or grabbing a latte at the coffee shop aren’t (apparently) paying much attention to our personal posture.

Balance

Posture affects our balance. Balance affects walking, going up and down the stairs, getting up and down from chairs, getting in and out of the car, carrying things, and even turning our head. Hence, good posture is vital to many of the things we organically do throughout our day.

Health

Good posture plays an important role in our mood and in how people interpret our mood. It reduces neck and back pain and helps us look slimmer. Additionally, it helps us breathe more easily by allowing our lungs sufficient expansion room. And, because we are well oxygenated, we may learn more easily and retain information longer (improved memory).

Parameters

When you are standing with good posture, your chin will be parallel to the floor and your shoulders will be even. Your arms will down and your elbows, straight. Your weight will be distributed evenly across both feet on even hips. And it will feel good unless your muscles have already begun to adjust to an abnormal configuration.

Train Posture

Certainly, you can resort to the traditional ‘book on your head’ method of practicing posture. The goal is to find the position that puts the least strain on your joints and muscles. Or, you can imagine a straight line running through your body and it’s connected to the ceiling. Without standing on your toes, make yourself as tall as possible. You can strengthen the ligaments in your back by doing a ‘shoulder blade squeeze’… move your shoulder blades as close together as possible and hold them there for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times.

Upright

There’s also the Upright posture training device (this is not a commercial for the product – just passing along info). It’s a wearable device that vibrates slightly when your posture is out of alignment.  It’s part of the ‘wearable’ technology that monitors our body for optimal health and is a great way to retrain yourself to stay aware of good posture if you’ve gotten a little lazy about it.

The goal is awareness and good health. A simple piece of that is to be diligent and…

Check Your Posture

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

#107 Have a Girls/Guys Weekend

It can be just one friend or a dozen as long as drama, personality differences, and complaints stay home.

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.

#107

Have a Girls/Guys Weekend

Yesterday’s post – recommending that we occasionally ask for a hug – spoke to the importance of feeling connected – to  having a sense of belonging. This suggestion is another that will help foster the sensation of ‘belonging’ by bringing together those people that constitute our tribe.

Early Start

We may start developing the need to surround ourselves with favorite peeps as early as those playgroups that mom drug us to. For others, that desire began in daycare or school but either way – it only blossoms. Soon, we are asking for sleepovers and ‘hanging out’; we want to be encircled by other like-minded souls as often as possible. This is especially true through adolescence when we begin discovering how we are different from our family of origin and downright ‘need’ the sense of sameness.

Grown-up Play Dates

Our need for friendship and belonging doesn’t change as we mature. It does however, become more difficult to get those needs met as we marry, have children, full-time jobs and the daily responsibilities of home life. Our giggling late night conversations with our best friends are few and far between. Those nights that metaphorically ‘fill our gas tank’ are rare unless we make them happen. Hence, the need to have a girls or guys weekend.

Keep it Simple

While it’s great to get out and ‘do’ things while you’re with friends, some of the best parts of a friend weekend is to keep it simple. Life is busy enough as it is so a getaway weekend may best be served by taking it easy next to a beach, swimming pool, or fireplace with a bottle of wine or a bowl of popcorn. If there is too much planned activity, there may not be room for the conversations and connection for which the weekend was designed.

Likewise, the goal is friendship and bond strengthening so it can be short and inexpensive – one night at a campground; or longer and deluxe – a long weekend in Cabo. It can be just one friend or a dozen as long as drama, personality differences, and complaints stay home.

Gender differences

Generally, men like to ‘do’ things and can find comradery in building a barn, hunting, skiing, or gaming. Indeed – plenty of gents splurge on annual outings for many of those reasons and for some, it’s the only real ‘friend’ time they get during the year as family responsibilities prevail. Women seem to be better at planning short and sweet visits together more often, saving the long and expensive trips to enjoy with their significant others.

No matter the style, budget, or program – fostering, building, and strengthening a sense of belonging is the ultimate goal when you make plans to …

Have a Girls/Guys Weekend

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

 

#108 Ask for a Hug

Because a hug can generate that sense of belonging and compassion, it fosters calm. It allows us to feel protected – if even only for that moment.

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.

#108

Ask for a hug

Connection is one of the most fundamental needs that a human being requires for survival. In fact, researchers in Chicago have postulated that not feeling connected to a ‘tribe’ may be more devastating to our life expectancy than smoking or obesity. There may be no better way to signify a connection than by hugging.

Often these days, we are racing around attempting to complete our own agenda and don’t take the time to stop and consider those around us. Consequently, we may fail to notice that people in our circle – our tribe – our family, are feeling disconnected from us. We may not feel comfortable speaking out when we are the ones feeling on the outskirts. And so it goes… we brush past one another, maybe with a smile but disengaged from a sense of belonging.

Take the Lead

It is during those times that it becomes imperative to ‘ask for a hug’. Whether you’re the one feeling disconnected or you are noticing that someone appears to be detached or unplugged from the group/family. Either we notice that we are in need or there is someone in our tribe that can tell we are deficient. Either way, the gesture of a hug will likely break the isolation and pull us into at least a temporary circle of comfort.

Benefits

Because a hug can generate that sense of belonging and compassion, it fosters calm. It allows us to feel protected – if even only for that moment. Consequently, our immune system may function better, our fear is reduced, and we may feel happier. More hugging may help with heart health, depression, anxiety, and overall life satisfaction.

That’s a lot of benefit just because we took the time to think about our needs and …

Ask for a hug.

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

#109 Try a New Perfume or Aftershave

This suggestion is for those of you who know how to take a risk, who want to try something different, and who aren’t afraid of change.

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.

#109

Try a new perfume or aftershave

Have you been a creature of olfactory habit? Have you ‘smelled’ the same year after year because you’re fearful of finding another scent that works? Many of us have fond memories that relate to scents. I can’t smell Old Spice without thinking of my father and my mother, Estee Lauder. They wore those scents so long that they were synonymous with their roles.

Chemical Changes

It’s interesting to note that over time, our bodies chemical composition can change just enough so that the way it interacts with the chemicals in the cologne, it may smell different on us. Likewise, manufactures can tweek even one element of the scent structure and it interacts with us differently – changing the way it smells. It’s always good to have a fall back or another ‘go to’ scent.

Picking the Right Scent

While there are those that will never change – it’s not necessarily true that one scent fits all occasions. A light fruity scent may not be the most appropriate one for a winter holiday party. Likewise, a sexy soft scent probably isn’t a great choice for an important board meeting. Men also need to consider how strong their aftershave or deodorant is as compared to their environment. And ladies – when you spray, try to remember a little on the wrist goes a long way.

This suggestion is for those of you who know how to take a risk, who want to try something different, and who aren’t afraid of change. Of course, starting with samples is probably the best approach until you find something you enjoy. There’s no reason to accumulate a dozen bottles of scent that you won’t be wearing.

The next time you walk through the cosmetics department or find a magazine filled with samples – grab them so that you are ready to …

Try a new perfume or aftershave.

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

#110 Learn Origami

Today, there are a number of world renowned artists whose only medium is paper and whose primary method is to fold.

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.

#110

Learn Origami

When was the last time you even had a thought about folding big paper into little paper? For many, it was the last ‘cootie catcher’ you made in middle school or the last paper ‘football’ you made for the high school lunch table. Some of you may have folded paper in more appealing shapes in girl scouts or a crafting class, perhaps as part of a scrapbooking project. Origami though, takes folding paper to a whole new level.

Art

Origami is a true form of art. It’s attributed to the Chinese dating back to the 1600’s but there is reference to the process in different forms as far back as 1000 A.D. in a couple of cultures. Today, there are a number of world renowned artists whose only medium is paper and whose primary method is to fold.

giang-nudeback
Vietnamese artist Giang Dinh

Origami as therapy

Paper folding is a favorite de-stressing activity for a lot of hobbyists. It’s recommended as a ‘tool-box’ item for anxiety and depression. It’s attributed to lowering blood pressure, increasing attention capacity, and improves dexterity in people who’ve had injury to their hands. Some therapists recommend Origami for ADHD, Addictions, and raising self-esteem. It fosters creativity.

Mindfulness

Origami can be instrumental in the development of mindfulness as it brings your attention directly to the present moment and it can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anybody who has a piece of paper. It can help us let go of our need to be perfect and may foster a form of meditation as the skills develop and focused attention is deepened.

Family time

Some of the basic Origami folds can be accomplished by children as young as four years old. It’s a great activity that can bring the entire family to the table with very little – if any – expense. It has the potential to become a familial hobby – or one that is shared in an adult relationship – fostering time away from electronics and societal noise.

Real Deal

Origami as an art, a hobby, and a therapeutic tool is a real thing. There’s a National association, several annual conventions, and Meetup groups that allow lovers of paper folding to connect and share. So, if you saw the title of today’s suggestion and raised your eyebrow, I suggest you find a piece of paper and find out what all the fuss is by getting started on a basic fold as you watch the video and…

Learn Origami

 

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

#111 Run or Walk a 5K

We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds.

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.

#111

Run or Walk a 5K

The weekend before Thanksgiving is approaching and it’s typically a popular weekend for ‘Turkey Trots’ and other big, sponsored runs. Why not make the effort to participate?

Perspective

To put this into perspective – most walkers will complete a 5K in about 45 minutes. It’s only about 6000 steps for the average stride (a piece of cake – or pie – for all of you who seek that 10K step goal) and you’ll burn 300 calories. Running of course, will be faster and burn more calories.

Benefits

While walking a 5K once and only once will feel like an accomplishment to those who participate, making it a regular practice has tons of benefits for you body and mind.

Walking improves your mood.

Walking improves your body strength.

Walking improves your cardiovascular strength.

Walking improves your balance and coordination.

Motivation

Maybe the best thing about these ‘organized’ walk/runs like a 5K is that they motivate us to do it with others – to be ‘a part’ of something. We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds. It’s easier to participate with someone than if we have to make the decision to get up and out on our own.

So, gather some friends and jumpstart your holidays with something that is good for you…

Run or walk a 5K.

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

#112 Binge Watch a Show

If the motivation for disconnecting from the world to watch television for hours on end is to distress and regroup – then binge watching a program is a great way to do just that.

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.

#112

Binge watch a show

‘Binging’ is not often attributed to a suggestion that might increase happiness and yet there are times when too much of a good thing ends up being even a better thing. Sometimes, taking a ‘down’ day offers our body, mind, and soul a much needed vacation from daily life and its stressors. One of the ways to escape is to binge watch television.

New Term

“Binge watching” is a relatively new term and yet it’s akin to the concept of ‘marathon’. Seemingly, one has a derogatory connotation while the other was much of a contest of sorts. When ‘reruns’ came into being, there would me weekend ‘marathons’ of Star Trek that captured the full attention of Trekkies all over the world. When the AMC channel was introduced and ran one Hallmark movie after another all day and night long, we’d hear about someone watching a ‘marathon’ of Robert Redford movies. Even movie theaters would offer marathons of Spencer Tracy movies or newsreels and you could buy a ticket and come in throughout the day – sit as long as you would choose – and leave when you were finished enjoying the experience. Today, we do it without commercials on channels like Netflix and Hulu but we call it ‘binging’.

Disconnecting

If the motivation for disconnecting from the world to watch television for hours on end is to distress and regroup – then binge watching a program is a great way to do just that. Pick an old favorite, a classic you never saw, or a series that you’ve had a hard time following (sometimes it is easier to follow if you don’t have to wait a week to reconnect to the story line). For some, there’s barely a difference between digressing into the dramatic world of television or devouring three Nora Roberts novelettes in a weekend.

Avoidance

When making the decision to ‘binge’… allow yourself an honest evaluation of the motivation. If is as describe in the paragraph above – give yourself permission to unplug and recharge. If, on the other hand, it is to AVOID something… you may want to reconsider using the binge suggestion as a reward for meeting the responsibilities at hand first. Avoidance rarely offers constructive consequences. Indeed, it is at the core of much dysfunction and the accessibility of binge watching on countless devices makes it an easy out when we are looking for excuses.

Set Limits

It may be appropriate to set limits for yourself as you enter a binge watching session. Personally, hanging out on a winter afternoon in front of the fireplace in my jammies and curled up in a blanket on my sofa watching reruns of Fixer Upper is one of the most relaxing things I can think of to do. If I were to do it every weekend, many of the things that are important to me would never get accomplished so its key to set a limit for my binging. I generally have an hour limit… once it was the entire day – 12 hours of a docu-series that I got hooked on right away. Most times it’s capped at 4 or 5 hours and I might do that a couple of times a year. I might of felt guilty that first time because there was a long list of ‘should’ playing in my mind but I’ve learned to silence them and use this suggestion as a form of ‘self care’.

Try it! You may find that it is fun to …

Binge watch a show.

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