#18  Sit With Yourself

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.

#18

Sit with Yourself

Do you know someone who can’t sit still? Or others who are uncomfortable with being alone? Are you able to go to a movie or eat in a restaurant by yourself? Learning how to be comfortable with time by yourself turns out to be a critical component to true happiness. Having alone time is important.

An Hour or Two

Spending as little as an hour or two each week is all it takes to improve your sleep, your attention, your commitment, and your stress level. It doesn’t matter if the hour or two is in one fell swoop or if it is broken into segments. Perhaps it’s only a half hour at lunch four days a week. Maybe it’s getting up a half hour early or going to bed before everyone else. At the very least, it may be an hour on Sunday evening while the rest of the family is watching a movie or reading.

Alone Time

The kind of alone time that is suggested here is being ‘still’ with yourself. It’s not intended to be a time where you clean, work, or talk on the phone. It’s not taking an hour to scroll through social media or even read, or watch television. It’s quiet time; sitting and being. It’s for introspection, creative thinking, and thoughtfulness. It’s for mental planning, self nourishment, and emotional recharging.

Doing so may be the antidote you need for the stressors of daily living or a stressful work environment. It may be the time you need for the creativity spark that will help you finish a story, inspire a painting, or adopt an idea. It may settle you mind long enough so that the solution to a problem becomes crystal clear. It will likely help you find your voice – to sort through your thoughts sufficiently enough that you are able to articulate more fully in the process of communication. It will likely help you hone into your perceptive energy, encourage deep thinking, and hence, improve your relationships all around.

There is much to be gained when you commit to spending time alone where you just…

Sit with yourself.

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.

#19 Realign Yourself

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.

#19

Realign Yourself

This post is NOT about your spine although I could definitely do a post about visiting a Chiropractor… this post is about realigning your behavior with your value system. You see, as the driver of our lives, we do many of the same things we do when we drive our cars… we hits bumps in the road; we go too far without routine maintenance; and we can spin our wheels so long that we get worn out along the edge. When that happens on our vehicle, we take it in for an alignment and this post is suggesting that we do the same for our mind/spirit/body connection.

Off the Straight Line

You know when a car needs an alignment because the steering is a little wobbly and it won’t go in a straight line when you take your hands off the wheel. It takes more effort to steer. The same is true for life. When you despise going to work every day – or home… when your stomach turns each time the phone rings or mail gets delivered… when you run into someone you know or when you get invited to a party – any negativity that arises may be indicating that your action(s) may not be consistent with your value system.

Physiological Evidence

Our bodies are great barometers for when our actions are out of alignment with who we want to be. We feel bad, guilty, or ashamed. We get defensive, argue, and raise our voices. We may get headaches, have stomach trouble, or back pain. We may even break out with zits, pimples, or hives.

Real Examples

Let’s say you made a decision to value honesty but you – out of habit – told a series of ‘white’ lies in an effort to avoid confrontation…  or you go to work everyday to a department that has historically reported jacked up results to look good… or you volunteer with someone who helps themselves to product when ‘on duty’ – all examples of dishonesty. The migraines you began having last year soon after you committed to being a more honest person may be indicative of the discord between your value and the dishonest environment in which you find yourself.

Or perhaps you’ve made a commitment to have a closer relationship with God by living the doctrine of your faith more passionately. Now, you find that every time someone uses the Lord’s name in vain or curses up a storm – the hairs on your neck tingle. Or perhaps those are habits that you are finding difficult to break. The angst you feel getting up each morning may be your body reminding you to pay close attention today – to the commitment you made.

Values Change

As we grow, mature, and experience life as too do the values that we hold dear. As a young twenty-something, I valued parties and social variety much more than I do today where sharing a bottle of wine with one or two friends in a quiet, relaxed environment is my idea of meaningful engagement. Were I to step out and try to ‘party’ every weekend, it would be inconsistent with my current ‘value’ and I may find that I am ‘off’. If I keep doing it… If I keep dishonoring the value that I’ve adopted, being ‘off’ turns into something more obvious and I am left with the need to figure out why I have developed insomnia or a bad attitude.

Just like you do when the steering wheel starts to wobble… step back every once in awhile and take stock of your values – matching them against your actions & behavior. Pay attention and notice when it is time to …

Realign yourself.

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.

#20 Expand on What You Know

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.

#20

Expand on What You Know

As a therapist, I am frequently talking to people who feel stuck in their lives and relationships. Sometimes, we can trace the ‘stuck’ feelings to the fact that people keep doing the same thing over and over again. It always reminds me of the old quote…

“The true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of getting different results.”

Of course, much of the time it is a behavior or action we continue because we just don’t know what else to do. We move through the actions almost rotely, unaware that it is because our knowledge is limited and the solution is most often – learn more. I am sensitive to the fact that we only do what we know because we ‘don’t know what we don’t know’. You can only change something or grow when you become aware that you don’t know.

Simple Solution

The solution is pretty simple: expand on what you do know – assuming that there is always something more to learn. It’s my belief that we stagnate when we adopt the belief that we’ve ‘been there, done that’ and stop investigating. Learning isn’t just about the depth of our knowledge… it’s about the breadth as well. Most educators already know this as it applies to children’s education. It’s one of the reasons that the team approach works well – incorporating reading, history, and English together with the arts can help a child maximize their understanding of a topic. When they are composing poems or writing plays about the period of history they are studying and painting backdrops they researched in books… you get the idea. It fosters a much richer educational experience than a single liner assignment.

Your Life

We can do this in our day to day life as well. If you like plants, build a garden with landscaping and make it bird friendly. If you like organic food – grow your own. If you are creative, make things and sell them online; build a website and expand your technical skills. If you enjoy cooking, experiment with recipes and ingredients to reshape the original into something unique then start a blog. If you like to build things, find ways to repurpose things you have or pick up cheaply and donate them to organizations where you spend time volunteering. If you like to write, build a story and write a book… use resources from the internet to research and add character to the plot.

It Only Takes Time

Growing your body of knowledge doesn’t have to cost a dime or require much physical effort. It’s as easy as visiting the library or hopping online. Most university libraries will also offer the public free or very inexpensive access to their facilities – opening the door to more learning than can be obtained in a single lifetime. If you know how to read – you can learn. It may not be easy if you’re a more ‘hands on’ kind of learner but it’s possible with dedication. Time and desire are the only mandates as proven by Maria Beltran proved when she taught herself English and went on to become a lawyer while raising six children as a single mother. If she can do it, most of us will never have a valid excuse.

There’s no reason for your life to be stagnant… you already have a bank of knowledge. All you have to do is…

Expand on what you know.

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.

#21 Give Some a Homemade Gift

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.

#21

Give Some a Homemade Gift

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s one of the best times to give someone a homemade gift… in this case, a homemade card depicting your affection – is perfect. Who wouldn’t prefer a few well thought out sentiments that come directly from the heart?

A handmade card is lovely and a handmade gift is often just as appreciated, especially when it is made with the recipient in mind. How about someone’s favorite cookie, pie, or cake? A member of my family prefers to receive baggies of my well known shredded pork barbecue (nothing special really) anytime it’s his birthday or if I draw his name for our Christmas exchange. Knowing that you have a home cooked option in the freezer after a long day of working really is a ‘gift’ at times.

Personal Thought

When we offer something we made, it frequently symbolizes that we spent time and energy thinking of the individual; crafting something specifically designed for the person receiving the gift. A friend of mine is involved in a community gift exchange every year and they make something that is reminiscent of the community in which they reside. It might be a collection of leaves from the trees specific to their street, another year it was made out of driftwood that washed up on the shore of their community. Later yet it was something crafted with the motto of the neighborhood. All of the gift were specific to the broader connection between the giver and the recipient.

Ideas

There are tens of thousands of ideas on the internet or in the aisles of big box stores catering to crafter’s such as Michael’s, AC Moore, and Joanne’s. It can be cooked, baked, knitted, crocheted, stitched, sewn, painted, drawn, stamped, burnt, carved, glued, built, burnished, adorned, or woven – just to cover the basics. There are classes upon classes if you need ideas or support. There are how to videos all over YouTube not to mention basic instructions on almost anything you can imagine in blog posts and articles in the Do-It-Yourself genre.

Really, there isn’t any excuse or reason one may offer to avoid the sentiment of offering something homemade the next time there is a gift-giving occasion. Now may be the best time to put on your thinking cap and start a list of ideas so that when it’s needed, you can…

Give some a homemade gift.

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

TTAH

Join me for Try This At Home podcast – where I am co-hosting a series of conversations designed to make every day a little better.

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

#22 Interview a Person You Admire

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.

#22

Interview a Person You Admire

The point of this suggestion is to take some time to ask questions of a person whom you deeply admire. It may be a high profile person, a town celebrity, an old teacher, an executive of your company, the pastor of your church, or it could be an elderly Aunt that you’ve never ‘really’ gotten to know.

Life Lessons

The goal is to garner information that you may not yet know about living a good life. How did they become someone worthy of admiration? What are their takeaways from their own experiences? What perspectives helped them through tough times?

When we take the time to listen – we learn. Sitting with someone with whom you’d like to emulate offers a tremendous opportunity to get into the life lesson fast lane. While their experiences are undoubtedly different than yours, the perspective and skills may be generally applicable.

Tips for Success

I’ll make the assumption that most of us will be interviewing someone who has had some success either in their professions, in their spiritual journey, or in their relationships. How did they do it? What goals did they set? What steps did they actively take to reach those goals? How did they handle the challenges? What attributes allowed them to persevere? Did they fail? What did they learn from failure?

In this era of instant gratification, I know many of us don’t want to work through all the kinks that learning presents. We want to be successful now. Knowing how others accomplished the pinnacle of the mountain you’re climbing may offer a more clear path to the top. Take the time to learn the tips and tricks they used to get there.

Lifelong Student

I don’t see this as a ‘one and done’ kind of activity. Because our lives are always changing, there will most certainly be people in our lives frequently with whom we can have these conversations. It may be a great tradition to practice annually. Choose someone in your life with potential to ‘teach’ you and invite them to lunch or dinner. Pick their brain and then record the essence of that conversation for inclusion in your own life plan. No matter where you are currently in your own journey, there is someone there you may learn from. Take the time to look around and…

Interview a person you admire.

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.

Announcement: New Podcast!

I’ve got a new project!

I’m super excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with a really dynamic lady – the founder and powerhouse behind Limelife Planners, Inc. to host a Podcast designed to be a series of conversations to help make life better!

After almost a full year of writing about it, what would be more natural than talking about it on a platform that can easily reach a broad audience?! We have posted two episodes and a bonus conversation to introduce ourselves and I’d love it if you would give us a listen. Of course, if you like what we have to say, we hope you’ll subscribe, share, and rate us so that more and more people will tune in.

I’m loving the process of bringing many of the idea’s I’ve written about to life inside a curious conversation. Each week our discussion will zero in on one idea, technique, or activity that has the potential to make life better.  We’ll be talking about those universal challenges that make up daily living and offering tips to manage them. Our aim is to give you something you can take home and try out for yourself! In many cases, we’re also including free downloads or e-books that we’ve accumulated over time so that you can benefit from the tools we also use.

You can subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner, and of course, you can reach out to us or listen at the website Try This At Home Podcast.

Thanks!!! as always for the kindness and support that you’ve shared as I move through this journey called life. <3

#23  Know Your Worth

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.

#23

Know Your Worth

I’m giving a seminar on this topic in a few days and it was the center of several counseling conversations this week – a clear sign from the universe not to forget to mention this in the pursuit of the things that can help you live your best life. Indeed, it may be a the very top of the list. Without a sense of self-worth, happiness may be unsustainable.

Born Worthy

I will often ask clients to think about the last infant they saw and imagine that infant smiling with big eyes, back at them… what about that baby right there and then isn’t worthy? That sweet human is entirely deserving of all life has to offer – love, liberty, and success at the very least. And so is every other person on the planet. This is a universal given. And then… as we move from infant to toddler, from childhood to adulthood – we come to believe otherwise.

Shaping Beliefs

Those beliefs develop in a variety of ways perhaps starting with our home environment where a long list of ‘shoulds’ exist and value statements are transferred from one generation to another without examination. They develop as we perceive societal and cultural expectations and begin to compare ourselves against the published ‘norms’. As we are told or as we determine that we haven’t or don’t meet those expectations, we begin to internalize a value of self and an inner dialogue begins; sometimes under the surface of our level of awareness.

Tangled Up

We fail to distinguish the quality of our behaviors from the quality of our BE’ing and the resulting shame from behaving badly or making mistakes is wrapped around our self worth until it is so intertwined that it feels as if it is one piece. And we deny our worth.

Untangling

The antidote to a broken sense of self begins with untangling the value judgments and seeing oneself as a human being just trying to make it through the world. Most of us wake up each day with the intent of living a good day, of being decent, of connecting. Start there. BE those things. Connect with people, be decent, and make the day count in some way. Get to know your own heart and values; live by them. Look at the big picture and put things in context.

Loving Kindness

Practice self compassion. Practice loving kindness on yourself everyday. Use “I am” affirmation statements that validate your worth. “I am kind”, “I am a hard worker”, “I am a good friend”, etc. And each time those old tapes play in your mind – those messages that were adopted when you didn’t know any better – move your attention to what you know is true now…

“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.” ― Sharon Salzberg

Maybe the most important step in the pursuit of happiness is understanding that you are now, and have always been ‘worth it’. Don’t let another day go by without working to discover or making the effort to validate your value. Living your best life is at your fingertips when you…

Know your worth.

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.

#24 Learn Martial Arts

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.

#24

Learn Martial Arts

While this is an activity that is often introduced at an early age, it’s an activity that we are never too old to learn. As long as you are willing to move your body, practice patience, and you won’t throw up each time a ten year old advances past you… you are able to learn a martial art.

Defense

One of the primary benefits of knowing a martial art is the ability to practice self defense. A solid karate chop will set back almost any average offender. We’re never too old to defend ourselves. Self defense is an essential life skill. When we are able to think quickly and react as such, it is a skill that transfers to many other aspects of our life.

Overall Health

Your martial arts activity will be good for your overall health. Just the fact that you’re getting regular exercise has all the traditional benefits. Martial arts training is specifically good for your heart and bones. Some people believe that engaging in martial arts can actually reverse the aging process!

Personal Challenge

Learning a martial art can be as good for the soul as it is for the body. Challenging oneself to push physical boundaries increases esteem, confidence, and trust. The increase in physicality will encourage you across all areas of your life.

There’s a lot to gain from taking the time to…

Learn martial arts.

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.

#25 Compete in Something

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.

#25

Compete in Something

Do you play cards? Tennis? Chess? Do you run marathons or are you part of a sports team? If you do/are… you are most likely engaging in competition which, as it turns out – is good for you. If not, think of something you can do that will offer you an opportunity to compete, to win because the dopamine rush that happens when we win – may be important to our happiness.

Chemical Reactions

It seems as if we are biologically designed to be rewarded for “coming out on top”… for winning. In fact, low serotonin levels are the result of denying ourselves the opportunity to win. If you find that you avoid competition or don’t try to succeed when given the chance, it may promote depressed feelings. Winning is one of the ways that we validate our power or knowledge.

When we win at something, our bodies produce a surge of testosterone – temporarily providing a rush of ‘strength’ in both men and women. In addition, dopamine – the happy chemical – courses through the area of our brain that is responsible for pleasure and positive emotions.

Is it no wonder that winning is the goal?

Winning isn’t Everything

Competition isn’t just about winning however. There are great benefits to being a part of a team when it comes to those competitions that require cooperation and coordination. Learning to share energy in an effort to accomplish a task is an important life skill.

Competitions tax our body and/or our minds. Whether we’re competing in a triathlon or playing Euchre, we are using some kind of energy in the pursuit of playing. Our brains are constantly at work in an effort to figure out how to maximize our performance. It also promotes creativity as we vie to ‘get out front’ and win.

Against Yourself

Some people have negative reactions to social competitions and some, broken perspectives from poor experiences in the past. In these cases, I recommend competition against one’s self. Beat your best at anything; strive to do it faster, or earlier, or bigger. Anything that you can do to promote the sense of “I did it!” will induce similar chemical responses in your body.

Competition is good for you so the next time you have a chance to play a game of anything or to personally challenge yourself… just do it. You’ll be giving yourself an opportunity for some great chemical rushes should you win. After all, the only way to win… is to…

Compete in something.

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.