#31 Learn to Juggle

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.

#31

Learn to Juggle

For those of you who’ve been reading these last eleven months, this suggestion may seem like a stretch in the pursuit of a happier, easier, and more productive life but there are a number of reasons to include it here.

Fun

In order to feel ‘happy’, we must include moments of downright belly laughing opportunities. If you’ve ever watched someone attempt juggling or tried it yourself, you know the potential for fun is prominent. It’s fun to watch someone try and juggle and also fun to watch when they’ve mastered the skill. Juggling is the kind of ‘sport’ that works your body, mind, and soul.

Physical Benefits

Juggling is a great exercise for hand to eye coordination. This kind of activity builds neural pathways in the brain which, is super important for people of all ages. In addition, it promotes better dexterity.

It forces your attention and physicality into the present moment which, we know is a treatment for people with anxiety. If you’re not paying extremely close attention, you won’t be able to manage the coordination and so it is necessary to pull all of your mental and physical resources into the present in order to juggle.

Lastly, you can’t juggle without good posture. Practicing juggling on a regular basis will help you keep a straight stance – adding to the health benefits overall.

Mental Benefits

As was mentioned above, you must have great focus in order to juggle successfully. There are some reports that suggest kids who began juggling experienced less expression of their diagnosed attention deficit disorder. The same is said to be true of adults with in the same position.

Some people posit that juggling qualifies as an ‘active meditation’ since you are present, focused, aware of your surroundings, and aware of your body all at the same time.

Learning

If you feel inclined to learn how to juggle, I am going to suggest starting with YouTube where there are a number of videos explaining how to start. The most important part of this process of course is practice… as with any other thing that utilizes dexterity, coordination, and mental concentration – practice makes perfect.

If you’ve hit a wall… a plateau… or just have some spare time on your hands, it may be helpful for you to completely switch it up and get into something new by…

Learning how to juggle.

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

#33 Have a Photo Shoot

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.

#33

Have a Photo Shoot

You may be part of the population that has an annual family photo shoot for the purpose of sending Christmas cards or you’ve hired a photographer to take generation photographs when the family is all together but have you ever just had a photo shoot for fun? A professional photographer is not required. All you need is a great location, a willing subject, and a smartphone or nice camera. The new iPhones take better photographs than the $1000 camera that is only a couple of years old.

Silly Fun

If you’re a professional model, this may not sound fun at all but if not – this could be an activity full of fun and laughter; especially with a bunch of friends or someone special. You can take turns using the camera to capture funny faces, funny poses, and action shots of all that silliness. After all, sometimes, the best photos are the ones that are completely spontaneous.

Boudoir Shoot

How about a sexy shoot with class? – that’s the idea behind the Boudoir shoot. It’s definitely NOT pornography and definitely DOES capture the inner sultry of whomever is the subject. They make wonderful gifts for both men and women.  And, you don’t have to be in a relationship to justify having the shoot – it can build confidence for people of all shapes and sizes. This may be an area where hiring a professional is best, their ability to position and light you to maximize your best features will pay off.

Natural and Candid

You could fashion a backdrop and ‘stage’ a session for your shoot but a natural environment where your camera operator is able to capture candid images is often much nicer. Find a playground, a creek bed, or another favorite outdoor place to take your pictures. You might even have a friend follow you while you engage in your typical daily activities so they can seize any moments that find you immersed in your truest self.

Glam Shots

If you can’t get the shot you’re going for, try Glamour Shots, a franchised photography studio that specializes in ‘glamming’ you up and posing you in an effort to capture your best features. They offer props and backdrops of all kinds to ‘set the stage’ for dramatic and beautiful photography. In some cases, they offer makeup, wardrobe, and styling services. Think one-stop-shop for professional photography.

It doesn’t matter if you take this suggestion and go professional or if you grab a friend, your smartphone, and get out of the house, you’re apt to have a lot of fun and permanent memories if you take the time to…

Have a photo shoot.

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

#37 Sing Karaoke

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.

#37

Sing Karaoke

After recommending that we try Stand Up Comedy as a way to improve your well-being, I’d be remiss to ignore the idea of singing publicly as another way to foster fun, laughter, friendship, and joy in your life. And, while I am quite sure that I may be the spectacle of fun were I to stand up and attempt to sing a popular song… it would make for great memories.

Evidence

Several years ago a Japanese research team published a study indicating that those people who participated in the practice of getting together with friends and singing, were less stressed, had better cardiovascular health and less susceptible to heart disease. I mean, clearly those are benefits of reduced stress all around so essentially, they’re saying Karaoke reduces stress – no matter if you can carry a tune.

Talent

The point of Karaoke isn’t necessarily showcasing vocal talent – although it does certainly serve that purpose. We are generally entertained when someone is able to carry a tune and has even a little depth in their vocal range. But even if you can barely make it through Happy Birthday, gathering a group of friends and joining in on a collective rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ is great fun.

Physical Benefits

Maybe one of the best physical benefits of singing is that it forces us to control our breath and breathe deeply. It works our memory which, is exercise for our brain. It strengthens throat and palate muscles which, may improve snoring and apnea. It supports good posture by forcing you to stand more upright, allowing for better breath control. And, it may be one of the most natural antidepressants. People who sang regularly in church were found to have higher dopamine levels than those who did not.

Social Connection

Karaoke is an ongoing opportunity to gather with friends whether it is in a public forum or someone’s living room. It gives you rhyme and reason to connect. If you are a ‘regular’ on open mic night, you may develop a following; fostering confidence and esteem with like minded people.

There doesn’t really seem to be a downside to this recommendation except for the fear you may have revolving around judgment, rejection, ridicule, or failure… all derogatory and ultimately unhelpful; totally worth staring down. A great way to face your fears while having a great time inside a supportive environment is to…

Sing karaoke.

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

#38 Try Stand Up Comedy

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.

#38

Try Stand Up Comedy

I can only imagine how many people read this suggestion as a way to improve your life and laugh out loud because it may be the farthest thing from something that sounds fun. I suspect there are only two basic perspectives here…  one being that “there’s no way in hell I’d stand up and try to be funny because I’m not” or even if you think you could be funny… “there’s no way in hell I’d stand up in front of strangers”. And still… I stand by the recommendation.

Finding Funny

Everyone has a funny side or at the very least, comedic memories; stories of times when the absurdity of life found you belly laughing. The longer you’ve lived, the more you have to relate with. But, you don’t have to be on the older side if you are a good observer. There’s a lot of funny in the world and your ability to see it and describe it to other people is what makes good comedic material. In many of the basic struggles that we experience as humans, there is a humorous perspective. Some of the most famous comedians have been able to elaborate on the light side of everyday conflicts; relationships, work, raising children, proposals, traffic, etc.

Writing Funny

Where many of us lose the momentum is between writing the ideas and crafting the ‘script’ of the story. The website CreativeStandup.com offers some great advice about “understanding the principles of comedy” versus “applying rules and techniques”.  In some cases, it’s better to record yourself telling the tales and then have the recording transcribed and begin working from that point. In that way you are breaking the creative process into two distinct pieces but allowing the ‘material’ to flow naturally. There are several highly rated transcription services (apps) that are relatively inexpensive.

Presenting Funny

Once you have a few ideas and a routine you’re comfortable with, try an Open Mic night at a local comedy club. It’s a great way to face any fear of public speaking because people are ‘supposed to be laughing at you’. It’s a great night out with friends if everyone is participating and an awesome way to work on confidence and esteem.

You’ve heard the phrase ‘everyone’s a comic!’ – although notably it may have been a sarcastic expression at the time but there’s a little bit of truth in most sarcasm. Use this as fuel to recall some of your most memorable personal experiences, tell the story with as much absurdity as it can support, and …

Try stand up comedy.

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

#49 Do a Science Experiment

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.

#49

Do a Science Experiment

I know, when I think of this heading / topic, I immediately think of my refrigerator and all of the items that made their way into the far back; the things that are currently growing various forms of mold and each qualify as hazardous substances. They are unintentional science experiments and not the kind I am recommending you try.

As many people – especially your 7th grade science teacher – will tell you, science is cool. From observing and understanding magnetic properties and chemical reactions, basic scientific principles are interesting to observe and promote our sense of wonder and curiosity – two elements that contribute to feelings of happiness.

Some science experiments are magical. There are several here in this YOU TUBE video that will make you the most amazing aunt, uncle, grandma, pop pop, or parent in the world if you can pull them off. Most of them use household items and create rather magical effects – even though they are all the result of science happening.

If you don’t have a scientific background, I recommend that you stick to those things that you can find in books or online. Attempting to mix chemicals without knowledge of their interaction can be very dangerous and there are more than one news reports of people killing themselves because the lit something or mixed something that shouldn’t have been.

Whether you get a book or go online, there are hundreds of experiments that you can do to satisfy your curiosity or perform magic at the next family party. All you have to do is gather a few supplies and practice. Grab a friend, a kid, or a neighbor and surprise them as you…

Do a science experiment.

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

#58 Build a Sandcastle

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.

#58

Build a Sandcastle

Hopefully, it’s not 30 degrees where you are currently… making this suggestion sound utterly ridiculous and unattainable for several months. If it’s a bit warmer, it may actually be the perfect time to try this happiness tip because the beaches are probably mostly deserted and/or there’s bound to be a sandbox that could use a little TLC this time of year.

Why?

Building a sandcastle may be an activity that epitomizes childhood. We don’t seem to care how many crooks and crevices get filled with sand when we are children and believe it or not – it works our brain.

Cooperation

Most of us don’t build sandcastles alone. When we enlist the help of others, we are automatically thrown into the task of cooperation. It’s a great way for children to learn how to cooperate and for others to delegate. It’s a useful opportunity for a group of people to see how individual efforts contribute to a bigger project and outcome.

Creativity

It may be obvious that building a sandcastle employs a certain level of creativity. Most of us have not studied castle structure or architecture and so we are building based on memory of books and television; maybe even solely from our imagination. We have the opportunity to design anything that we fancy and so it’s a great outlet for creativity.

Spatial Skill

It’s a time when dimension, volume, and depth become important to the overall task. It forces us incorporate vision and make adjustments for scale – at least a little. Our brains will naturally attempt to make modifications when an element is too distorted and so it is good practice for spatial awareness.

Sensory and Motor Skill

Working in the sand engages your brain in a couple of other interesting ways. Our senses are often intrigued with the juxtaposition of water and sand and even more so when they are combined to create an entirely different texture. It’s a great time to be intentional and savor the experience. Additionally, there’s a certain level of motor skill involved; both gross and fine. Shoveling sand to build a mound and then carving the sand for detail uses different muscles as well as different areas of your brain.

Family Time

I’ve outlined why building sandcastles is good for your brain and dexterity. It’s also a fantastic family experience and it doesn’t have to be a summer beach day in order to enjoy it. A sandbox in the backyard or in the park can be accessed at any time and if you can get past the idea of sand covered clothing (it is easier to wash off with a dip in the ocean) ~ it’s a wonderful treat for the entire family.

Treat yourself to a free play day by getting outside in the fresh air and …

Build a sandcastle.

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

#81 Attend a Mystery Night Out

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.

#81

Attend a Mystery Night Out

Are you a mystery lover? Do you like to solve problems? Are you seeking a new idea or an alternative for your next ‘date night’? While murder mystery ‘game night’ boxes have been around for decades, the idea has taken on a very different vibe with museums, galleries, restaurants, and others getting in on the fun.

Host at Home

If you want to invite a few people over for a fun night at home, consider a box game – readily available from a variety of places. You’ll get everything you need to invite a few friends over and role play a real life game of Clue. You don’t need the box though – you can download a game and all the necessary information to play.

Get Out

Not into hosting? Want to be a partygoer? Keep an eye out for a Murder Mystery night in your community. Local theaters, tourist train companies, galleries, libraries, and even small townships have hosted murder mystery nights with themes ranging from Casablanca style nights to Old West Gold Rush motifs.

Finding Fun

A simple Google search for “Murder Mystery Night in YourTown” will hopefully return a number of options in your community or nearby. Sites like Eventbrite and Yelp also returned local options and Yelp of course, offered some reviews and comments about the events themselves but word of warning for those comments: The fun is often determined by the people involved in the experience and as such – will be different for each group.

Social

Just a few days ago I touted the benefits of a game night and this is just a twist on that suggestion. It’s yet another way for couples to enhance time together in a unique way. It’s a great opportunity for families to get disconnected from electronics and do something fun. It’s an entertaining way to spend time getting to know new friends or building comradery with business associates or team members.

Do a quick search for opportunities in your area, gather one or more peeps, and …

Attend a Mystery Night out.

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

#89 Host a Game Night

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.

#113 Play a Practical Joke

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.

#113

Play a practical joke

Life is just better when there’s laughter, isn’t it? I know I am guilty of getting locked into a serious mood from time to time and a practical joke is just the thing to bring me out of it. Before we go much further though – perhaps we can take a moment to define ‘practical’ in the interest of keeping it funny.

Clarity on Intent

The literal definition of a practical joke is to “trick someone in order to make them look foolish or amuse them”. I strongly suggest we avoid the ‘looking foolish’ element and strive for amusement. Here, it may be important to understand how the person  you want to ‘trick’ – is amused. While some slight forms of discomfort or embarrassment can be funny – there is great variability on our perspectives of this. For the sake of this suggestion, the intent of a practical joke is to promote laughter and levity.

Candid Camera

Perhaps the epitome of the kind of stunts that may be considered ‘harmless’ are the kind used by the famed television show Candid Camera. The tricks of mind and eye – the ones that leave us wondering about our sanity; tricks of the mind.

Limitations

Because the goal is to create amusement and for everyone involved to have fun, there are particular limits that must be respected in the pursuit of practical joking. In particular, no physical harm. No property damage. No significant inconvenience (i.e., creating situations that may make someone late for work – their boss may not think your joke is funny). And remember, what you’re willing to tolerate may not be the same as your target so – keep it light.

Suggestions

I’ve included a bunch of photos that I, personally find funny and harmless for your enjoyment and thought stimulation.

boots in concrete prank looks like dead body

Laughter elevates the most necessary chemicals in our body required for a sense of well-being. It provides a dopamine rush and helps us feel better by pulling us into the present moment. Remember, have fun but be thoughtful as you …

Play a practical joke.

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