#343 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Don’t be intimidated by paint – regardless of the modality you opt for – as the cost/benefit analysis is almost always positively slanted in its direction.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#343

Paint

Paint is relatively cheap – at least to other types of hobbies and/or decorating fixes. I’ll talk about painting in three different arenas:

  • Paint as art – Painting, regardless of your ability level is good for your health and happiness. Just the act of  holding a paintbrush can spur our creative juices, help us enter a state of flow, and promote feelings of happiness. Many of us might agree that the subjective nature of abstract art allows us to be true contenders on the international art scene with the simple act of throwing paint laden brushes of primary colors against a large blank canvas. Whether it is that particular technique or a purchased paint-by-number selection from the local craft supply center – painting an art piece will lend to lower stress levels and enhanced memory.

 

  • Paint furniture – have a piece of furniture that needs updating? If not, score a bargain at a local garage sale or flea market and then go ahead and give it a new coat of paint. You can be creative and paint something ‘artsy’ or go traditional and with the flow of your existing decor. It can be a big piece that you sand down to bare wood so that you have a fresh pallet or something that needs a little scraping, a bit more sanding, and then a fresh coat of a new color. Furniture can be painted to match almost any decor at all. From country chic to glossy sleek – the painting industry has your need covered.

 

  • Paint your house – Maybe not the outside (but hey, if you’re game – got for it), but give your inside a clean fresh look with a gallon or two of new paint. For less than $100, your entire family room can have a clean, crisp feel or your kitchen can be more modern. Painted kitchen cabinets are currently in fashion and while they certainly take patience and technique, the payoff is a whole new look for pennies in comparison to new cabinetry.  Be brave with your paint selection – it’s only color and it can be changed with a little effort if it turns out to be not-your-thing. Creating a space you feel good in can make a big difference in your attitude about being there. If home is where the heart is, then let your heart show there with colors that highlight you.

Don’t be intimidated by paint – regardless of the modality you opt for – as the cost/benefit analysis is almost always positively slanted in its direction. Create a Pinterest board of ideas for inspiration and you’ll be ready when the time comes for you to…

Paint.

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

Photo on Foter.com

#344 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Perhaps it is this education – this kind of learning – that proves to be the ultimate training. While acquiring ‘data’ or ‘information’ allows us to answer trivia questions and fix things around the house, I contest that it is far less meaningful than what we achieve if we ‘learn’ about ourselves and the world around us.

I”m sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#344

Educate yourself

The expectation of education is motivated from a very early age. In several cultures the idea of education includes post secondary instruction without question and many of us are groomed to attend trade school, Community colleges, or Universities before we are fully able to comprehend the extent of that commitment.

Our pursuit of knowledge is primarily vocation driven; we learn what we need to know in order to produce the income that sustains our lifestyle. Some of us expand our competencies in the pursuit of secondary incomes or hobbies. We amplify that expertise over time so that our proficiency is deeply rooted but perhaps not especially broad.

And yet in reality, the entire world is a classroom. Indeed, our very lives are a continuous curriculum of material offering educational content. Each failure, each joy, undeniably – each day – brings us information that we can attribute as educational and learn from if we choose.

Perhaps it is this education – this kind of learning – that proves to be the ultimate training. While acquiring ‘data’ or ‘information’ allows us to answer trivia questions and fix things around the house, I contest that it is far less meaningful than what we achieve if we ‘learn’ about ourselves and the world around us.

Yes, academic education has value and its continuous pursuit is desirable; do as much as you can regardless of your age or position. The public can utilize most college libraries for little to no cost; offering motivated learners unlimited opportunities and the internet can perhaps match that offering.

Self knowledge is just as accessible with introspection, mindfulness, and reflection.  Read books on emotional development, emotional intelligence, communication, relationships, and spirituality. Be curious – about everything and stay open to new ideas. Take advantage of wisdom where you can find it; older relatives, friends, counselors, & clergy. Don’t let teachable moments slip away unnoticed or unappreciated. Use them to…

Educate yourself

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

#345 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Years ago when I had an estimate for house cleaning, the woman said she had to charge me more for all of the ‘chotchkies’ she would have to dust. Ummm. That’s a fair disadvantage to collecting random baubles.

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#345

Declutter

Minimizing is a thing these days. From the tiny home craze to the amazing success of Marie Kondō’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up… we are beginning to connect to the concept of ‘less’. Retiree’s are ‘downsizing’; families are embracing a ‘minimalist’ lifestyle; and an entire industry has risen on the concept of ‘decluttering’. After decades of acquiring mentality people are finding peace in the concept of ‘letting go’.

Reducing clutter relieves anxiety. We simply feel better when things around us are in order. Indeed, less stress about our environment allows us to sleep better, particularly when the decluttering is in the room where we sleep. The benefits of decluttering include increased happiness… when we are happier, we are more productive and creative.

Years ago when I had an estimate for house cleaning, the woman said she had to charge me more for all of the ‘chotchkies’ she would have to dust. Ummm. That’s a fair disadvantage to collecting random baubles.

In order to successfully declutter we have to be conscious of what we truly need. How many junk drawers do we have to have – really? Take a good look around at all those knick-knacks you’ve been collecting in the pursuit of making the cover of Good Housekeeping and assess their importance. Are they things you’d grab in the even of a fire? Would you miss it if it was gone?

Start small. Clean out the drawers you rarely dive into. Try the back of the closet and thin out the clothes you didn’t wear this year. Do the basement, the attic, and the garage. By the time you get through those spaces you will have more discernment and can attack the main living spaces.

Think of how much time you’ll fee up when you don’t have to dust/clean all those nooks and crannies after you…

Declutter.

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

#346 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Imagine how popular you’ll be at work if you show up every Monday with a plate full of tasty goodies. No one has to know they are your the result of your personal happiness regiment.

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#346

Bake

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies and/or bread rising in the oven? For some of us, it immediately evokes memories of mom or grandma’s kitchen, holidays, and favorite recipes. As such, taking time to bake something can be a great way to induce calm, comfort, and security.

It turns out that the smell baking bread specifically, may actually make people kinder by conjuring pleasant memories.

Don’t know how to bake? Grab a cookbook or browse online and choose an easy recipe, something that makes your mouth water. It doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy – even boxed brownies smell and taste amazing (add a few chocolate chips to the brownie batter for double chocolate delight).

Don’t need the extra calories? Bake anyway and share with a neighbor, friend, or coworker. Imagine how popular you’ll be at work if you show up every Monday with a plate full of tasty goodies. No one has to know they are your the result of your personal happiness regiment.

In time for the Easter holiday, I am offering you this delicious (and easy)  Challah Bread Pudding recipe that is guaranteed to smell amazing and tantalize all of your happy senses.

Next time you need a little pick me up or you just want to relish in great memories…

Bake.

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

#347 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

If you have a few extra bucks it doesn’t hurt to treat people now and then to random surprises but mostly… kindness is pure heart driven.

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#347

Spread kindness

This ‘life hack’ is a no -brainer. It’s as old as time with the essence of ‘do unto others as they would do unto you…”.

We ‘know’ to do this; some call it chivalry – others call it manners. But… how much attention to we really pay to distributing kindness – especially when people are neutral or worse, unkind to us?

Our lives are busy and we are more increasingly finding it difficult to pay attention to our individual family members, let along complete strangers. And yet, the simple act of extending a kind gesture carries an impact that may extend far beyond either of the parties involved. This ‘ripple effect’ is mostly silent and unseen.

Suppose I take a grocery cart from an elderly gentleman in the parking lot and return it for him, smile brightly and wish him a good day…

I have no way of knowing how lonely he felt that morning and my comment lifted him. He goes to the bank and feeling lifted – comments to the bank teller about her beauty.

He had so way of knowing that earlier that day her drunk husband called her a pig and she was still reeling from the insult. Because her esteem was slightly lifted, she extended a courtesy to a customer and credited back a bank fee.

She had no way of knowing that the bank fee she was crediting made the difference that allowed that customer to afford extra groceries to make a dinner for a neighbor who was sick.

And on… and on… and on… it goes.

Performing acts of kindness of a regular basis has tremendous health benefits. It appears that extending kindness contributes to happiness, slows aging, improves heart function, improves our relationships and is reportedly – contagious.

And… it’s mostly free! The only thing it takes to extend kindness is effort & attitude. If you have a few extra bucks it doesn’t hurt to treat people now and then to random surprises but mostly… kindness is pure heart driven. Pick up a piece of litter, pick something up that has been dropped, open doors, smile, say kind things, let someone go first or jump in line, run an errand, cook a meal, clean a room, take in garbage cans, loan a book, et cetrra, et cetera… it doesn’t matter what the effort, just look around and…

Spread kindness

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

#348 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

For people with limited access to daytime sunshine due to working conditions, I often recommend that they eat lunch or take a break in their cars utilizing the same techniques.

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#348

Face the sun

This tip is specifically for those winter months or rainy grey days that may plague our mood or drain our sense of well-being. At those times – when the sun isn’t shining or is only accessible for a short time – our exposure becomes limited. It is likewise restricted for those of us who work indoors 7 to 8 hours a day, regardless of the time of year.

Exposure to sunshine helps our body produce vitamin D. Healthy vitamin D levels are essential to feeling good and when the sun is stubbornly hibernating, supplements may be helpful. An additional benefit to absorbing sun rays is the recent discovery that they promote immune function. Furthermore, sunlight supports the production of serotonin, another chemical that induces feelings of happiness.

When the sun IS shining, a helpful trick is to sit as close to a window as possible – assuming it is too cold to be outdoors – and position your face (eyes closed) toward the rays. Sit there as long as possible so that your skin can absorb as much of the vitamins and energy as possible. If the weather is nice of course, go outside so that there isn’t any barrier between you and the sun’s rays. I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to wear sunscreen for this exercise regardless of the time of year. For people with limited access to daytime sunshine due to working conditions, I often recommend that they eat lunch or take a break in their cars utilizing the same techniques. If making time to ‘face’ the sunshine is literally unfeasible for some reason, a sun lamp is a fair alternative.

It’s important to note that people who are afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) have probably been advised of these techniques and yet they are advantageous for all of us – all year long. For all of us, grabbing a little more Vitamin D and purposefully manufacturing natural serotonin is as easy as being sure to turn and…

Face the sun.

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

#349 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

All too often we fall into the trap of routine and favorites without adding intrigue anywhere in our life. Exploration protects against stagnation. Grab a friend or explore alone…

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#349

Explore

This tip is subject to individual interpretation. My favorite type is exploration involves an automobile and a map. Waking up on Sunday morning, packing a snack bag, and heading out to discover treasures on a road never before traveled.

It’s a tradition started by my father and one that I’ve carried on to this day. I’ve found quaint villages, amazing diners, quiet spots, and captivating historical nuggets simply by traveling down a road that I’ve never investigated. It’s true that as time goes by I need to travel further out but the discoveries continue and the pleasure of new information and charming revelations has yet to be exhausted.

Of course, exploration doesn’t have to mean a car – it can be applied to people as in meeting new friends. It can be information as applied to learning something new. It can be an expedition through YouTube.com or a University library. Explore anything that is interesting to you. The point here is to motivate and enhance curiosity and interest so that life doesn’t get stale.

All too often we fall into the trap of routine and favorites without adding intrigue anywhere in our life. Exploration protects against stagnation. Grab a friend or explore alone… step into that little shop you’ve been curious about or stop for desert in that restaurant you’ve wanted to try. Is there a park you’ve been meaning to walk through?

Don’t wait until a moment of boredom overtakes a hot summer weekend. Make exploration a part of your journey in some form. Add this one word to your to do list today…

Explore

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

Photo by byzantiumbooks on Foter.com / CC BY-NC