#89 Host a Game Night

Game nights can be several people playing the same game at different tables competing for a final spot (Bunko) or just a couple of people vying to be the champ (Monopoly).

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.

#89

Host a Game Night

Do you or your friends get together for Poker, Bunko, Caton, or D&D? Have you spent any time at a board game cafe? Are you a Monopoly fanatic? Board games are making a comeback and Game Night is a ‘thing’ in many twenty-something circles. What is your favorite game?

Family

Gathering the family for a night of gaming can be a great break from electronics and television. New York Magazine recently published a great list of popular board games – among them, several of our favorites; Codenames, Sequence, Ticket to Ride, and Telestrations. Telestrations in particular is great for a crowd and we are always left belly laughing the night away. When the kids are gathered (adults now), they love Ticket to Ride and have lovingly called it the ‘train game’.

 It can be serious and committed or routy, fun, and lighthearted.

By planning and arranging a game night, you’ll be connecting with like-minded people. You’ll be creating opportunities for belonging and laughter, and you’ll be making memories. All of these things lead to feelings of happiness and well-being.

If you don’t have a favorite game, experiment a bit or visit a local game store to get recommendations, or ask friends for their suggestions. Get your family together and involved with one another more often by …

Hosting a game night.

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

#91 Host a Party – Just Because

Chill out and stay focused on the laughter you’ll generate as you play a round of Cards Against Humanity or belt out a few Karaoke songs.

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.

#91

Host a Party

The days of dinner parties for the sole purpose of spending time with people we enjoy seems to be a thing of the past. Granted, some of us may invite friends over for a barbeque or pizza night but in my world it most often meant the kids too and was the only way we made the effort to socialize at home. I’m making this recommendation to bring the party back home – just because.

Hosting

Back in the day of dinner parties, people used their best china, set out the crystal and sterling, and donned a string of pearls when they hosted friends. I’m not recommending that kind of formality as it also – has gone by the wayside in most urban homesteads. A ‘party’ for this reference is any gathering of people for the enjoyment of one another company and not for a special occasion. It can mean dinner, or not. It can mean decorations, or not. It can include alcohol, or not. And it can be formal, or not. Hosting means that you decide, you plan, you do the work (or delegate), and it’s at a location of your choice, preferably your home where you can relax and enjoy.

Doing the Work

I know. Hosting a party can be a lot of work but … it doesn’t have to be! Learning to keep it simple and allowing the pleasure of one another’s company to be the center focus is easier than one would think IF, you can learn to let go of a few things. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be creative. It doesn’t have to be homemade. Giving the bathroom a wipe-over and running the vacuum will help others feel less germ-o-phobic but no one is going to be looking at your baseboards or inside your kitchen cabinets. Asking people to bring a dish to share eliminates a day of cooking and introduces you to different culinary options. Chill out and stay focused on the laughter you’ll generate as you play a round of Cards Against Humanity or belt out a few Karaoke songs.

Theme

Since the goal is to have a party “just because” get-togethers for exchanging something (ornaments, cookies) don’t count; nor do demonstrations like Pampered Chef or Lularoe. The goal is not ‘thing’ related – it’s ‘doing’ related. Get together and engage in comradery. If you absolutely need something to go on – create a theme:

  • Ask people to bring their favorite bottle of wine and do a wine tasting.
  • Ask people to bring a board game and try to play them all.
  • Ask people to bring their favorite dip and snack all night.
  • Ask people to bring a taco topping – provide shells and protein.

Benefits

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last 270 days or so, you’ve no doubt read about the benefits of friendship, laughter, belonging, and doing… hosting a party combines some of the best criteria for positive mental health outcomes so go ahead and look at your calendar … sometime around the middle of January when nothing else is prevalent and …

Host a party… just because.

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.

#185 Play a Card Game

The comradery you experience will help increase endorphins that increase feelings of happiness.

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.

#185

Play a card game

In my mother’s generation, it seemed that everyone – really, everyone – played cards. If it wasn’t Bridge or Poker, it was Spades and Canasta. People often had a deck of cards in their purse or glove compartment and it was a great way to whittle away time or get together with friends. Now we have smartphones and video games. Consequently, I’ve noticed that a lot of young people don’t know how to play even the basic card games like Rummy.

Card games are a great way to bring people together for conversation, entertainment, and a little competition. Many of them are quite strategic and like some board games, generate great worldwide contests. Yes, there’s a bit of luck involved insomuch as the draw or deal of your cards but ‘how’ you play them… that takes some finesse.

Grab a friend, family member, or grandchild and encourage them to hang out with you for the mere purpose of playing a card game. Perhaps one of you can teach the other or dust off a deck of cards and search the internet for the rules to your favorite game from childhood like Spit or Euchre. Bicycle – the dominant and market King of all card companies – even has an app that allows you to pull up the rules for almost any game you can think of!  Remember ‘I doubt it’ and ‘Hearts’? The rules are there too!

It’s one of those simple things that keeps us humble, connected, and present. The comradery you experience will help increase endorphins that increase feelings of happiness. Using strategy will help keep your mind clear and sharp. Learning and or laughter will also improve your overall mood so make an effort to step out of your routine, clear your schedule, invite some friends over, and do something fun the old-fashioned way…

Play a card game.

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

#213 Snuggle

In that small allotted time, nothing else matters and we are able to feel centered in our space. For those few moments, the pressures of the world are quiet.

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.

#213

Snuggle

Who doesn’t love to snuggle? From the time we are born, one of the ways that we experience connection and belonging is to get our body up close and connected to another person. Snuggling is NOT sex… it’s sharing personal space with another warm body – human or animal friend. It’s connecting – heartbeat to heartbeat – with another being to remind us that we are not alone in the world, that we are more than just ourselves. It’s part of what keeps us grounded and produces sensations of ‘existential significance’ – a feeling of having a purpose.

Snuggling comes with benefits

Spending as little as FIVE minutes a day cuddling with another being will stimulate an increase in the three primary emotional health hormones: Oxytocin, Dopamine, & Serotonin. Between the three of them, benefits include prevention of depression, loneliness, anxiety, and high blood pressure. They improve your immune system, lower your heart rate, and stimulate your metabolism. All together, they relax you and induce smiling.

Snuggle buddy

If you wake up next to someone each day – try to commit to 5 min either in the morning or the evening to cuddle together (without anticipation of sex) and no conversation. This is just time for the two of you to experience the life force of one another, to feel connected, and to be present with one another. If you sleep alone most of the time, then take 5 min a day to snuggle with a child (yours or someone in your care) or an animal friend. Cats and dogs are great snugglers (well… some cats.) and the living energy that exists in them can still mingle with yours for the existential benefit of realizing that you are not here alone.

Being present

In addition to all of the ‘connection’ elements associated with snuggling and their benefits, the ability for us to be still and present for 5 minutes a day has its own associated perks. In that small allotted time, nothing else matters and we are able to feel centered in our space. For those few moments, the pressures of the world are quiet. Breathe in the stillness and allow it to settle in your soul. Allow yourself to take the time to…

Snuggle.

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

#223 Ban Electronics from one Room

In order to experience one of the primary benefits of being a family – we have to actually talk to one another, engage in eye contact, and offer our exclusive attention to one another.

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.

#223

Ban electronics from one room in your home.

This suggestion will improve your family and interpersonal life… guaranteed! Easily for the last ten years, electronics of all types have infiltrated the most elementary moments in our lives and disrupted our ability to feel connected even in our own living rooms.

Disconnected

As a psychotherapist, I am frequently hearing how disconnected people feel from others in their home because someone they love – and desire attention from – is consumed with activity on their phone. It doesn’t matter if it is gaming, social media, or news… the fact that it is accessible from the palm of our hand seems to create a temptation for constant access no matter where we are or what is happening. How many of us try to watch television AND play on or watch something else simultaneously on our phone?  

Belonging

In order to experience one of the primary benefits of being a family – we have to actually talk to one another, engage in eye contact, and offer our exclusive attention to one another. It’s the oldest method of establishing belonging that is known. Any distraction can negatively impact this process; leaving people floundering for a sense of communion.

The Solution

There’s a quick and easy fix for this problem! Ban electronics (phones, ipads, laptops, etc…) from just ONE room in your home – ideally, the room you most often ‘gather’ in. It’s a simple rule that isn’t really any different than taking your shoes off at the front door… something implemented and enforced will eventually become habit and second nature. Before you know it, everyone in the room will be engaged in a shared conversation, focused on the movie, or concentrating on the game and experiencing a strong sense of belonging once you…

Ban electronics from one room in your home.

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