#88 Get up for the Sunrise

There’s something about the energy of the sun peeking over the horizon and blooming fully into the morning sky that offers hope.

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.

#88

Get up for the Sunrise

Some of you may do this on a regular basis but many of us do not and by staying in bed until after the sun is high in the sky, we are missing one of nature’s most magnificent moments. Without the sun, Earth would be an ice covered rock; it is the life force of our existence. If you are one of those who are routinely awake for the sunrise – do you watch? Are you present for the experience?

Good Mood

Watching the sunset – truly savoring the experience of it – can help you be in a good mood. There’s something about the energy of the sun peeking over the horizon and blooming fully into the morning sky that offers hope. The colors that are created each morning – completely dependent on that particular morning – are challenged to be created with paint, chalk, or pencil. Again, color has a way of inspiring us to feel better and increase our mood.

Consistency

The sun rises each day regardless of what is happening in the world and it’s a wonderful reminder that life keeps moving forward in spite of everything else. It can be a wonderful reminder that we too, can move forward and go on. It’s also one of the things that promotes hope in our spirit.

Gratitude

The sunrise can inspire gratitude. There’s something spectacular about this automatic event that produces intense beauty, incites promise, and comes to us free of charge that we tend to be thankful for. It may be typical to think “wow”, “man”, or “geez” with a sense of awe as we notice it’s characteristics.

If you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed that early in the morning, there is always the sunset but it generates a different spirit altogether so do yourself a favor and…

Get up for the sunrise.

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

#90 Plan a Surprise Getaway

… the fact that you thought of and planned for his or her absence (leaving no detail unchecked) will garner points for months – if not years – to come.

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.

#90

Plan a Surprise Getaway

I’ve written about Surprising someone but this suggestion is just a bit more specific and has a tendency to crank up the appreciation scale significantly.

Spouse

Your partner may be the most obvious choice for this suggestion as they are the often the most deserving of your unannounced benevolence. It’s a great way to spice things up; to let them know how important they are; how much you appreciate their contribution to your life together, etc… It doesn’t matter if it’s only an overnight at a local Holiday Inn or a week away in Sedona – the fact that you thought of and planned for his or her absence (leaving no detail unchecked) will garner points for months – if not years – to come.

Parents

Next to your spouse, for many of you it’s your parents that have devoted themselves to your success. If You’re going to plan a surprise getaway for someone, why not a spa weekend for mom or a golf outing for dad? Maybe they’d enjoy a weekend at the beach or a chalet overlooking a ski slope. It could even be a camping cabin with a fire ring all set to light. Surprises don’t have to be fancy to be meaningful. If money is tight – try AirBnB or call in a favor from a friend who has a place that mom and/or dad may like.

Friends

One of the best gifts I ever received from a friend was when she surprised me by taking my kids for a weekend. She came and got them, left me a big pot of soup and left me in my own home – alone – for the whole weekend. It was a great reprieve at a difficult time in my life to have a ‘staycation’ without any responsibility. It was – in it’s own right – a surprise getaway even though I only ‘got away’ from responsibility. I’ve never forgotten how good that felt.

Key

The key element here is that a big part of the surprise is not having to plan – a thing! I’ve heard some stories about how a even a suitcase was packed and in the trunk of the car – almost like a love kidnapping. The babysitter was arranged, the meals were planned, responsibilities covered, etc…. It’s a true escape for the recipient.

If you can’t think of anything to get your loved one this year for the holidays – consider a way you might…

Plan a surprise getaway.

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

#92 Be a Cheerleader

It’s possible to be a cheerleader without going overboard and puffing someone up unrealistically.

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.

#92

Be A Cheerleader

I’ve written about mentoring, appreciation, and friendship and in each case, there is potential for this suggestion – to be a cheerleader. Of course, I don’t mean the high school sports variety. By cheerleader, I mean someone whose focus is championing for another, directly encouraging and supporting.

We all need someone in our corner cheering for us – egging us on for a win – for success. Cheerleaders don’t criticize or correct, they inspire, urge, celebrate and rejoice in each little maneuver that delivers someone closer to the goal.

Pure Cheering

For some people this comes really easy – we all know one … that person (often a Grandmother) who encourages you no matter what – even if it’s not all that great of an idea or goal. And then there’s the rest of us (often parents) who who say “that’s good, but…”. A true cheerleader eliminates the “but”. A cheerleader leaves their personal opinion out of the equation. Unless someone is headed in a direction of self harm or violence – they are pure support.

Value of Cheerleading

While there has been a lot of controversy in recent years of building people up – sometimes without merit, it’s an important element of developing and sustained self-esteem. It feels good to know that someone is ‘on our side’ and that there is a person ‘has our back’ no matter what. Trust is established in this manner as well as confidence. Yes, it’s true that blowing smoke at people isn’t helpful because the real world doesn’t always ‘cheerlead’ for us. It’s all in the delivery!

Honest Cheering

It’s possible to be a cheerleader without going overboard and puffing someone up unrealistically. Instead of saying “you were great!” (if they really weren’t)… say “Your effort was amazing!” or “You’ll get it next time.”  Instead of claiming that a negative isn’t present at all… focus on the positives. Instead of buying into the disappointment that a ‘big’ thing that didn’t happen – celebrate all the small victories.

I’m sure there is someone in your life that can benefit from your decision to…

Be a cheerleader.

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

#94 Celebrate a Friend

A good friend wears many hats and by helping us make critical decisions, cope with stress, and rebound from illness.

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.

#94

Celebrate a Friend

Friendship is a gift. In the longest longitudinal study of human development ever conducted, it was ascertained that friendship is critical to our mental health and directly impacts our physical health. A good friend wears many hats and by helping us make critical decisions, cope with stress, and rebound from illness. A good friend may literally make the difference between life and death at a critical point whether it is holding our hand during an emotionally weak moment or donating a kidney, bone marrow, or genetic material so that we can start a family. A good friend deserves to be celebrated.

Appreciation

When was the last time you demonstrated solid appreciation for the friends in your life? If you’ve been remiss, now is a great time to reconcile your gratitude. Consider hosting a “[Barbara]Appreciation Day”. It may look very simple – a handwritten card with expressions of acknowledgement. It could be a PB&J picnic or treating him/her to a nice lunch at their favorite restaurant. It could be a full-on surprise party or celebration that catches them off guard and for the sole reason that they’ve been instrumental in your life. The point is to acknowledge their contribution to your overall well being as you…

Celebrate a friend

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.

#132 Make Something For Someone

The time, consideration, and attention to a gift that was created from a loving perspective has always been highly appreciated.

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.

#132

Make something for someone

There are few things better than being the recipient of a gift made with you in mind. The holiday’s are fast approaching and this suggestion is designed to encourage you to consider one or a few homemade gifts this year.

Personally inspired, homemade gifts have always been big in one arm of my family. The time, consideration, and attention to a gift that was created from a loving perspective has always been highly appreciated.

Of course, many of these items are derived from crafty hands but they don’t have to be. A homemade gift can be cookies, or a soup mix. It can be bath salts, vinegar, or infused oils – none of which take much talent outside of a Google search and assembling a few ingredients. Indeed – those particular suggestions are quite simple.

Make Your Own Vinegar

Infused Oils

Dry Soup Mixes

It can be more involved though, depending on your talents. Do you draw? Paint? Crochet? Sew? Build? Of course, artwork is always nice for young people just setting up house. A commissioned drawing or painting is great if there is a beloved pet, home, or photo that is meaningful to someone. Everyone needs an afghan for the couch or a cuddle blanket. It only takes a bit of time and talent to build a blanket ladder, a gift that most of us would love.

If your talent is more service oriented, then make an I.O.U.  Create a card, a certificate, or a coupon that offers your time to someone. The gift of babysitting, cleaning, yard work, cooking, home decorating, etc… the list is endless. Anywhere that an extra pair of hands is needed would be a welcome ‘gift’ to most all of us.

The holiday’s doesn’t have to be stressful on the budget – not to mention, birthday’s, thank you’s, or other special occasions when we have the ability to…

Make something for someone.

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

#145 Hide a Love Note

I’ll describe a number of the variations for this suggestion as well because it isn’t as black and white as it may seem.

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.

#145

Hide a Love Note

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about surprising someone you love. While finding a love note you’ve tucked away may be a surprise to the person who finds it, I thought it detailed enough to be its own tip to promote your (and another’s) happiness.

This suggestion is almost always found in lists of ‘things to do’ in order to perk up your relationship or build trust and intimacy between you and a partner. It’s another one of those things we are apt to do in the early stages of romance before our attention and energy get pulled into the day-to-day distractions of real life. Yet, it’s another – rather easy – free effort that reaps big payoffs in the long run.

Variations

I’ll describe a number of the variations for this suggestion as well because it isn’t as black and white as it may seem.

  • Love note: This can be a one liner; a lengthy tribute; or anything in between. It is specifically directed to someone you love and the note points to those emotions; includes any ‘loving’ relationship.
  • Thinking of you note: Generally a one liner but may include a romantic suggestion or a good will wish.
  • Appreciation note: A note specifically pointing out the attributes of the individual that you especially appreciate; more meaningful if you speak to ‘who’ the person is versus ‘what’ the person does.

The Medium

The notes can be from a sticky pad, beautiful stationery, printer paper, or the back of an old envelope. It doesn’t matter what the note is written on – what matters is the time and sentiment that it takes to write and then ‘hide’ the message. Likewise, your penmanship, spelling, ‘writing ability’, and writing instrument makes no difference. The sentence: “I luv u with my hole hart” scribbled in crayon is just as sentimental as one that is typed on parchment paper and spelled correctly.

Hiding Spot

Hiding them is perhaps, the trickiest part. It’s nice when they aren’t blatantly obvious although if your only option is to lay it on the kitchen table before you leave for work – it’s better than not doing it. However, the little surprises of finding a note hidden in a towel as you grab your shower, or inside a shoe you only wear on weekends, or at the bottom of a cereal box… those are the moments when you least expect to be presented with something significant or sweet. The goal here is for the note to be discovered in the most least expected way.

Think about the person you are writing to… where would they least expect to find a note of love, appreciation, or a kind thought? Grab something quick, while you’re thinking about it, jot something down and then…

Hide a love note.

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