#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.


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.


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#185 Play a Card Game

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.


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.

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