#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.

#228 Buy Coffee for the Person Behind You

When we are surprised, (by receiving a random act of kindness) we also have surges in dopamine, again feeling happier. It’s a win – win situation.

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.

#228

Buy coffee for the person behind you.

I’m sure you’ve heard of, perhaps even acutely aware of the ‘random act of kindness’ movement (#RAK).  You may even have performed one recently. What I’d like to suggest is that the next time you get in line to buy coffee, a latte, or a frappe – please consider paying for the drink that the person behind you has ordered (assuming you are in a drive through line). You could do it for the car behind you in an drive through that pre-orders (fast food, etc.).

We know that ‘kindness begets kindness’… when people are the receiver of a random act of kindness, they are more likely to perform one but it has to start somewhere. Why not be the one to initiate?

When you are kind, pleasure centers in your brain are activated. Your dopamine levels increase and you feel happier. When we are surprised, (by receiving a random act of kindness) we also have surges in dopamine, again feeling happier. It’s a win – win situation.

When I make this suggestion I sometimes hear objections of how difficult it is to find an extra $5 but really… it’s only $5 and it might mean that your coffee tomorrow is forgone but knowing that you’ve impacted the life of another in a positive way will override any deficiency.

It’s a simple suggestion, spending a few dollars on someone you don’t even know to promote happiness for you both. Why don’t you consider, the next time you are sitting in line at a drive through… promoting happiness by taking the time to …

Buy a coffee for the person behind you.

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

#230 Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

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.

#230

Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Yesterday I suggested that you re-read your favorite book and if you take me up on that suggestion…. Great! I hope you enjoy. Afterwards – or in the event that you don’t want to re-read it – write a note about why the book stands out in your mind, tuck it inside and give it to a friend (without giving away the ending).

Sharing Is Good

You might share why you are giving this particular book to that particular person. Is there something about the story that reminds you of her/him, or the relationship  you have with them? Is there something else that you think resonates within the story? Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

Connections

This gesture is a small example of how we might foster social connections. Sharing is an integral part of connecting with others. Research tells us that when we share, the pleasure centers of our brain are activated – the same areas that turn on when we eat food that we enjoy or have sex. Because we take time to step outside of ourselves – out of our selfish perspective – we may also improve elements of depression or anxiety.

Kindness

Perhaps the best benefit of all is that we promote kindness which, is known to be one of those things that create forward ripples; kindness begets kindness. Not to mention that the gesture promotes reading. You may never know what goodness happens after you…

Give the gift of your favorite book.

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

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

My children are always intrigued about my childhood and how I spent time before video games and electronics. They find it interesting to imagine…

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.

#273

Write down a favorite childhood memory.

Close your eyes for a minute and allow yourself to go back in time – back to when you were a child. Allow yourself to remember a moment of laughter, of comfort, or fun. What was happening then? Who was there? What were you thinking and feeling? What about that particular memory stands out?

Go ahead and write down the details – the answer to the above questions – for this memory and then do it again, and again.

Take the time to cherish, even savor, each of those memories as you write them. The act of writing will refresh your memory even more (perhaps stimulating additional details). Remembering pleasant times stimulates those pleasure areas in our brain and while they don’t spur the same level of chemicals that the actual even does, there is some dopamine production with the remembering.

Writing down the fun times helps to honor the experiences so that they balance our perspectives more evenly. Our brains are still wired to be noticing everything that is wrong (survival instinct) and so when we take time to reflect on the positives, we appreciate the true balance that typically exists in our overall existence.

If nothing else, writing down these memories captures them for our later reflection or maybe even more importantly, for the people who love us. My children are always intrigued about my childhood and how I spent time before video games and electronics. They find it interesting to imagine how we lived in a time that they’ve only read about or seen represented on television. The world is continuing to change, so capturing this little slice of history may be impactful to all of our future generations. How fun for all when we sit around and remember that time when Granny…

Write down a favorite childhood memory (or two).

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

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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

Research has repeatedly indicated that people who are consistently benevolent report higher levels of well-being than others.

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.

#274

Do a good deed

Think about this phrase ‘do a good deed’ for a minute. What does it mean to you? Does it mean a kind gesture? What would that look like?

There are more ways to do a good deed than there are words to describe how it may be enacted. From returning a grocery cart for someone to paying for a full grocery order – it can cost nothing or as much as you would like to give. It can take barely any energy or be a full day of hard labor. It might be working with a bona-fide charity or simply some random act that was spontaneous.

It doesn’t matter how large or small a good deed is, the act itself is important. Why?

Turns out that when we do something nice for someone, the pleasure centers in our brain are activated – another way that we produce the happy chemical dopamine. Research has repeatedly indicated that people who are consistently benevolent report higher levels of well-being than others.

Perhaps the key element here is ‘consistent’. I’d wager that most of us have done something nice for someone at one point or another and we may not consider ourselves ‘happy’. Yet, when we extend kindness over and over again, day after day… we are also benefiting.

Kindness begets kindness and so our good deed may in fact, be the one that begins a ripple in the energy of generosity. Some would argue that the extension of kindness is the ultimate journey for our souls; that to aid those less fortunate than ourselves is a social or spiritual rule. In any regard – it will help you feel better about yourself and probably about your circumstances as we can always find someone more in need than we are.

Do yourself – do someone else – a favor today and …

Do a good deed.

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

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

 

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

These are the things that happen we someone GETS surprised – I am suggesting that you BE the one to offer a surprise; be a giver of good things.

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.

#276

Surprise someone

Do you like surprises? Do you know someone who does? Sometimes, a surprise is a really nice thing! When you surprise your mom or dad…  your grandmom or favorite uncle… When you put away the dishes without asking or when you bring someone home their favorite ice cream, you are acting in an unexpected manner and pleasantly surprising another.

These kind of surprises promote happiness for a number of reasons.

  • Surprise activates the pleasure center of our brain. The experience of being surprised produces a burst of dopamine in our brain, allowing us to feel good then and there. Each time we recall the intensity of the surprise, a little more dopamine is pushed into our system until it fades away. The more meaningful the surprise – the longer the effect lasts.
  • Surprise pulls us into the moment. When we feel surprised, our attention is on the here and now versus some other point. Staying focused on the present eliminates frustration from the past or anxiety of the future – at least temporarily.
  • Surprise breaks up monotony. We sometimes fall too easily into routines that become boring. Whether it’s our daily schedule or the way we engage in our relationships, too much certainty becomes boring. When the pattern is broken or at least, interrupted by little surprises, it allows us to reset and relax; producing feelings of pleasure.
  • Surprise can motivate learning. When we are surprised, our brains rush to discover ‘why?’ or ‘how?’. We wonder, “how did I miss that?” or “why did that happen?”. Learning always strengthens our brain capacity and again, pulls us into the present by forcing us to pay attention. Our curiosity is activated and confidence may increase – producing more ‘happy’ chemicals in our brain.

These are the things that happen we someone GETS surprised – I am suggesting that you BE the one to offer a surprise; be a giver of good things.

When we give – we often receive. In this case, you’ll be pulled into the present moment as well. You’ll be focused on something (someone) other than yourself. You’ll be creating feelings of pleasure and happiness for another human being. You’ll more than likely be the receiver of appreciation – activating pleasure centers in your own brain. It’s a win -win situation when you pleasantly…

Surprise someone.

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