#113 Play a Practical Joke

Because the goal is to create amusement and for everyone involved to have fun, there are particular limits that must be respected in the pursuit of practical joking.

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.

#113

Play a practical joke

Life is just better when there’s laughter, isn’t it? I know I am guilty of getting locked into a serious mood from time to time and a practical joke is just the thing to bring me out of it. Before we go much further though – perhaps we can take a moment to define ‘practical’ in the interest of keeping it funny.

Clarity on Intent

The literal definition of a practical joke is to “trick someone in order to make them look foolish or amuse them”. I strongly suggest we avoid the ‘looking foolish’ element and strive for amusement. Here, it may be important to understand how the person  you want to ‘trick’ – is amused. While some slight forms of discomfort or embarrassment can be funny – there is great variability on our perspectives of this. For the sake of this suggestion, the intent of a practical joke is to promote laughter and levity.

Candid Camera

Perhaps the epitome of the kind of stunts that may be considered ‘harmless’ are the kind used by the famed television show Candid Camera. The tricks of mind and eye – the ones that leave us wondering about our sanity; tricks of the mind.

Limitations

Because the goal is to create amusement and for everyone involved to have fun, there are particular limits that must be respected in the pursuit of practical joking. In particular, no physical harm. No property damage. No significant inconvenience (i.e., creating situations that may make someone late for work – their boss may not think your joke is funny). And remember, what you’re willing to tolerate may not be the same as your target so – keep it light.

Suggestions

I’ve included a bunch of photos that I, personally find funny and harmless for your enjoyment and thought stimulation.

boots in concrete prank looks like dead body

Laughter elevates the most necessary chemicals in our body required for a sense of well-being. It provides a dopamine rush and helps us feel better by pulling us into the present moment. Remember, have fun but be thoughtful as you …

Play a practical joke.

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

#114 Paint the Woodwork

Perhaps the most important part of choosing a paint for trim is knowing to get a hardy, washable paint.

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.

#114

Paint the Woodwork

As I look around my home, my first thought is that I must add this suggestion to my to-do list ASAP. How does the woodwork in a typical home get so beat up? You’d think a herd of antelope have charged through the doorways and against the chair rail in almost every room.

Stained Woodwork

Some people don’t like painted woodwork and have gone to great lengths for the cherry or walnut stained trim that comprises baseboards, door jams, and crown moulding throughout the house. Others, have cursed those oil based stains as they attempted to paint over them years later with washable latex. While stained trim is definitely beautiful, especially in older homes where the quality of wood used for trim was high end, it can be both dark and comfortable as well as dark and dreary. If dark and comfortable is the feel you want and have… read no further. If it’s dark and drab or if your woodwork is already painted – read on.

Colored Trim

In Colonial style homes, the tradition of painting trim a darker color than the walls is still practiced. Often, because dark colors draw your attention, when there is detailed trim that acts as part of the room decor (dental molding, etc) the contrast of it against a light wall has an artistic feel. In many of the modern homes where trim was mass produced, it’s rather nondescript and acts more as a simple frame for a door or window opening so it is commonly white.

White Trim

White may not be white – or so says Better Home and Garden Magazine. In an online article, they remind us that ‘white’ comes in a variety of tones that vary across a spectrum of cool to warm; each one complimenting the primary wall color differently. They recommend taking a paint chip of the primary wall color to the paint store to see which ‘white’ works the best and then make it consistent throughout the room. Personally, I prefer a white, white – on the cool side throughout the whole house. It seems chaotic to choose a different white color for each room.

Durability

Perhaps the most important part of choosing a paint for trim is knowing to get a hardy, washable paint. This is where quality matters. Bob Villa, one of televisions most beloved home improvement specialists, suggests a alkyd-oil based paint in either semi or high gloss for most traditional household trim work. It is by far, the most durable and the most washable – tolerant of harsh cleaners. Personally, cleaning up with oil-based paints is cumbersome and it doesn’t come off easily after drying on areas it wasn’t supposed to be on in the first place (my hands, the floor, the doorknobs, etc) so I use water based paints in semi-gloss but go for high quality, high durability. Behr paints have been rated highly by consumer reports over the years and have been satisfactory in my personal experience. It goes on well and blends well if all I am doing is random touch ups.

Take a walk through your house and glance around at the trim in each room and then grab a paint brush and a fresh can of paint and…

Paint the woodwork.

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

#115 Make Wine

There is a lot to learn and an entire industry to explore if you become curious about wine making.

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.

#115

Make Wine

Are you a wine drinker? A chemist? An inquisitive adventurer? Have you tried making wine?

Since the beginning of the current millennium, the number of American wineries has more than quadrupled and wine of some variety is now grown in all 50 states. With this type of availability, one might ask why bother to make your own and yet there are a number of us with devout curiosity about our ability to make a great glass of vino.

Process

Making your own wine doesn’t actually require a massive amount of grapes. It can be made from grape concentrate and it’s completely possible to purchase concentrate from almost any grape producing part of the world. Certainly, you can do the research, buy the grapes or concentrate, add the proper ingredients and chemicals, ferment the juice, and then bottle the result.

Options

You could take on the entire process yourself or… you could find something like The Wine Room in Cherry Hill, New Jersey where wine experts – having all of the ingredients and equipment available – are able to help you make a wine consistent with your tastes; you do the composing – they activate the process.

Shared Interest

This is one of those things that offers the opportunity for people to come together in their shared interests. It’s like a book club but wine making instead. It is the kind of thing that can motivate conversation, peak curiosity, and encourage cooperation all at once. It is a great activity for couples who share a liking for wine. It’s a great family project or special occasion effort (The Wine Room).

Grand adventure

There is a lot to learn and an entire industry to explore if you become curious about wine making. There are annual amateur competitions to be entered, tastings to win, and money to be granted. It could become a passion you never knew you wanted to pursue and overall, a grand adventure! If you have an interest in wine, you may consider spending some effort to …

Make wine.

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

 

#116 Give Someone a Back Rub

The act of physically touching another person with compassion and gentleness can be physically (not sexual) pleasurable for you as well.

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.

#116

Give someone a back rub

Remember that saying “it’s better to give than to receive”? While most people I know enjoy receiving a back rub, it’s also quite nice to earnestly give one.

Aside from foreplay

Back in the day – before ‘hookups’ were a truly a casual thing, this is the ‘intimate gesture’ that often served as a ‘hint’ that more touching might be welcomed – at least in my experience – although the initiation of sex is NOT what this suggestion is really about.

Intimacy

When we gently and slowly massage the bare skin of another human that we feel connected to, it can be a very intimate experience. This exercise is encouraged as a way to build physical intimacy with someone without the expectation or culmination of sexual activity (although if you are moved… by all means).

How To

When I make this suggestion in couples therapy, I will sometimes hear resistance by an individuals declaration that they have weak hands and I send them directly to the internet to learn how to give a back rub. It turns out that strong hands are not a requirement for a relaxing, stress reducing, or even a seductive back rub. They may be if you are seeking sore muscle treatment in which case, see a trained massage therapist. Indeed, a good back rub is more about the caress of the skin, slight pressure moving in a particular direction, and the intention of the touch. Most anyone can give a good back rub with a bit of practice.

Benefits

At first glance, one might think that the receiver is the only one who tends to benefit from a back rub but for the giver – there’s opportunity as well. Making a connection with someone you care about may be the most obvious. Making the time for your friend or partner let’s them know you put them first from time to time and that gesture reinforces the relationship you are also a part of. Initiating a selfless gesture of providing pleasure to someone you care for keeps you grounded and focused beyond only your needs, encouraging a Eudamonic sense of well-being. The act of physically touching another person with compassion and gentleness can be physically (not sexual) pleasurable for you as well. Indeed, there’s hardly a downside when you make the effort to …

Give someone a back rub.

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

#117 Practice Appreciation

After a few years in private practice working with couples in crisis, I noticed that they all had a blaring commonality; an absence of expressed appreciation.

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.

#117

Practice appreciation

After a few years in private practice working with couples in crisis, I noticed that they all had a blaring commonality; an absence of expressed appreciation. Early in relationships, whether they are employment, romantic, or just personal – we tend to be observant of the ‘niceties’ that are exchanged and comment on them in appreciative ways. In many cases, that energy quickly wanes.

Gratitude

In the age of the Gratitude movement, it is often apparent that people are using the term gratitude when they mean appreciation and believing that because they appreciate something, they are automatically grateful for it but they are different. They are not one-in-the-same.

Difference from Gratitude

The Oxford English Dictionary explains that Gratitude is the “readiness to show appreciation” and then goes on to define appreciation as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”.  Key into the phrase ‘recognition of the good qualities of someone’ – seeing the good – as that is commonly the area to dissolve first.

I love the way that Esther Hicks explains appreciation – “seeing something through the eyes of the source (creator)”. It is to ‘notice’ and once we do… we can be – and often are – thankful for what we are appreciating (gratitude).

The Practice

In order to actually practice appreciation, we must direct our attention away from ourselves and engage in the present moment. As you recognize the good – comment on it.

“I appreciate that you got up with me this morning.”

“I appreciate that there is always cream in the fridge.”

“Thanks for being willing to work everyday. We appreciate the way you care for us.”

“Thanks for coming home tonight.”

“I’m happy that you’re sitting here with me, thank you.”

And the list is endless. Hearing appreciation for our ‘being’ and for what we do, helps us to feel recognized, loved, and valued.

Tip

The next time you feel salty with your partner or they are being cranky with you – stop and make an assessment of three things that you appreciate about them and share. Even in that no-so-perfect moment,  you can find something to appreciate and expressing it will pump some loving energy into the negative space between you.

It is always helpful and potentially relationship saving when you…

Practice appreciation.

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

#118 Lower Your Expectations

Expectations need to be clear and verbalized when they exist and in order for that to happen, they need to be in our awareness.

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.

#118

Lower your expectations

It has been said that the single quickest way to obtain a sense of happiness is to lower your expectations – allowing most of the disappointment you feel to disappear. You see, when we experience disappointment, it’s due almost exclusively to an expectation that wasn’t met.

Here are a few areas where high expectations can make life more difficult:

  1. Expectations for perfection
  2. Expectations for people to think like ‘me’.
  3. A belief that there’s only one way – the right way – and an expectation for people to adopt that belief.
  4. An expectation for people to ‘do what I do’.
  5. An expectation to avoid confrontation.
  6. An expectation to control what’s outside of your authority.
  7. An expectation for people to define things like you do.

Each one of those items can be applied to an almost limitless list of examples in the average person’s day to day life.

We are raised with expectations, we are required to meet expectations at our place of employment, and we are constantly exposed to social expectations. The challenge of determining which ones are appropriate to meet and which ones we can dismiss can be overwhelming. Some of us – in light of this – try to meet them all… often with disastrous consequences to our mental health.

Generally speaking, consider the ones that do NOT fall into any of the above categories. Then, take a look at which of the remaining ones are a priority to YOU. Meeting those expectations at work may be necessary if you want to generate an income that sustains your lifestyle yet making your bed every morning may be a leftover from mom.

Meeting expectations feels good but failing to hit the mark generally, does not. If you are going to establish expectations, make sure they are reachable for the people to whom they apply. It may be too big of a goal for your C student to get straight A’s next semester. Expectations need to be clear and verbalized when they exist and in order for that to happen, they need to be in our awareness. Many of us have subconscious expectations that are represented by idea’s of ‘should’.

Discover your subconscious expectations easily by recording those things that are ‘should’s’ in your life… you’ll be amazed. Only then can you make the decision to know when for what you can …

Lower your expectations.

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

#119 Get Hypnotized

When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain.

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.

#119

Get Hypnotized

My mother delivered me under hypnosis and without drugs or an epidural, she remembers only one labor pain. Hypnosis is widely misunderstood; people have a sense that while hypnotized they are unable to have any control. I frequently hear resistance that includes a fear of “not knowing what’s going on”. In actuality, hypnosis is nothing more than a hyper-focused state of concentration.

Hypnotic State

While ‘under hypnosis’, the hypnotized individual is in a heightened state of awareness, temporarily rendering the person fully susceptible to suggestion [but only to the extent that the individual is willing]. It is during this state that the individual is able to zero into the subconscious, mostly due to the absence of  environmental chatter – eliminated by suggestion. Some people call this state a ‘trance’ and is easily recognized by the state we all commonly experience when we arrive at a destination but have no memory of actually taking the route there.

Purpose of Hypnosis

Sometimes, there is so much internal or environmental ‘chatter’ that it is extremely difficult to get to the data stored in our brain. Hypnosis helps us dive through the noise. At other times, we are so consciously resistant to going ‘there’ that hypnosis allows us to bypass the auto-diverters that our psyche has created; allowing us to get ‘there’ [a memory or a feeling]. In other cases, hypnosis allows us to get underneath the ego or established defenses and to the place where we are vulnerable and receptive to new ways of thinking.

Benefits

When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain. There, we can divert pain, established beliefs, and dysfunctional thinking. Hypnosis can attack phobias (irrational beliefs), sleep, depression, stress, and other mental health struggles. It can help us visualize, remember, and concentrate.

Cons

Some people question the validity of the ‘memories’ that are reportedly recalled while in a trance. Since these memories are often unable to be substantiated, it is helpful to consider the ‘point’ of the memory, what is the ‘meaning’ that may be attributed to what the brain has created, regardless of the truth or fiction. I find that under some circumstances, a fictional ‘memory’ may be just as valid a message as a literal recollection – similar to a dream.

If you are challenged with an addiction, an unidentified nagging feeling, or a curiosity about childhood – consider finding a therapist qualified to practice hypnosis and take the step to…

Get Hypnotized.

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