#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.

#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.

#96 Stop Comparing

People’s lives are often like icebergs… only the tip is exposed to the world and we don’t know what is happening below the surface.

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.

#96

Stop Comparing

One of the potentially troublesome elements of our humanness is the tendency for us to compare ourselves. Comparing what we look like, our incomes, our homes, our jobs, our families, or the like often allow for feelings of unworthiness, envy, and jealousy – none of which are healthy contributors to our emotional frame.

Apples and Oranges

When we compare, frequently we are attempting to measure ourselves against observations that are unfair. We equate the worst of our person or situation to our assumption about the other – generally a perspective that isn’t completely accurate. We may think that our friends marriage is perfect because when in public – the couple appears laughing and engaged yet they may simply be hiding great pain and shame of a poor relationship under that laughter. Others may have a large home, go on lavish vacations, and drive fancy cars – allowing for assumptions about their large incomes but in truth – are deeply in debt.

Individuality

The reality is that we are each unique and perfectly imperfect people who have a personal story unlike another’s. No matter how similar one may be to another, the likelihood that we can be the same or would really want to be the same… is farfetched. What would the world be if we were simply duplicates of one another?

Things Aren’t What They Seem

I’ve known people who had a lot of money but no family to share it with; they got so caught up in the pursuit of wealth that their family drifted away. I’ve known people who kept their house nice and clean yet friends rarely felt comfortable there due to its sterile feeling. People’s lives are often like icebergs… only the tip is exposed to the world and we don’t know what is happening below the surface. Measuring ourselves against only part of the whole, sets us up for false perceptions.

Antidote

When you find yourself comparing – the quickest antidote to any negative feelings that may occur is to express gratitude. When we take the time to be grateful for what we DO have – for who we ARE – and for what is REAL… we stop getting caught up in other people’s lives because we notice what matters in ours.

While the temptation to compare may not entirely evaporate from your life, remembering that you see only what people what you to see and not what is real may help. Add that to an expression of gratitude for everything that works in your world and you’ll quickly learn to …

Stop comparing.

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

#105 Stop Complaining

The adage “what we focus on … grows” and it’s indicated in physical science by looking at the way our brain sends electrical charges through our brain

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.

#105

Stop Complaining

I read that complaining was like emotional farting – a description that resonated with me and it turns out – that when we complain, it’s as if we are in a closed elevator – essentially impacting everyone in our vicinity with the negativity of our comments. Yes, complaining is contagious. When you are complaining, you are a black cloud of dust settling in, over, and around everything within earshot.

Second Nature

The adage “what we focus on … grows” and it’s indicated in physical science by looking at the way our brain sends electrical charges through our brain – eventually shortening the distance the charge travels and making it easier for the brain to think the way it is thinking. In this example, “grows” refers to the ease with which thoughts are triggered. When we complain a lot, complaining becomes second nature.

Based on this logic, the reverse would also be true. If we compliment – or notice the positive – over and over, they are the elements that become a natural part of our thought process.

Stress

Negativity begets stress… stress is hazardous to your overall health. When we are surrounded by complaining, stress levels increase. When we are complaining, stress is elevated. In both cases, the overarching effect on our system is negative which, in many cases – become another focus of our complaint.

Easy Street

Complaining is easy. We are hardwired to look for what’s wrong in life. It’s a mechanism that supports our survival and some complaining – is healthy. The truth is that some aspects of life feel negative and expressing frustration effectively is a necessity for good mental health. Constructively expressing the emotions we feel is more difficult than it appears.

Gratitude

The antidote to complaints is to recognize the good in each experience. Expressing gratitude for even the most difficult of scenarios is at the heart of healthy functioning. It is akin to finding the silver lining in every storm cloud and describing IT – instead of the horror of the storm. Noticing the good and allowing it to take center stage instead of complaining about the element that wasn’t perfect… can be where the focus goes. And ass it goes… “what we focus on… grows” so…

Stop Complaining.

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.

#148 Read a book about History

The older you get, the more you realize that humans don’t change that dramatically from generation to generation – at least not from those things that make us human – behavior and intention.

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.

#148

Read a book about History

Was History a class that you zoned out on in High School or College? Did you resist listening to the story about Christopher Columbus or Napoleon for the umpteenth time after awhile? Have you ever found yourself wishing you knew more about certain time periods now that you are an adult and perhaps more traveled?

Fiction or Non?

Learning about history can be accomplished in a variety of ways but reading a book that is either biographical in nature, a factual presentation of historical data, or a historical novel can offer a great perspective and tons of information you never knew you’d actually find interesting.

Outside of reading about Mary Todd Lincoln and fantasizing about being able to wear hoop skirts, my interest in historical information was minimal until I became an adult. Interestingly, it was my love of historical fiction and generational novels that enticed a wider interest in other time periods and I’m not sure I gave it much significance until Downton Abbey rekindled my interest in the fashions of the late 1800’s – shortly after hoops were removed from the skirts of ladies dresses.

Emotional Investment

Since then, and perhaps in tandem with a couple of visits to Europe in recent years, my interest in history has bloomed. I’ve enjoyed the fiction of Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford – both authors who create magical fictional characters against the backdrop of actual events. I am able to imagine the depth and breadth of those moments far better than a college history lecture when I am emotionally invested in the characters who are being invaded by the Nords, grieving a war loss, or losing their fortune in a market crash.

Biographies

Biographies are another way to establish an emotional connection to a character; one who is historical in their own right. These books are stories as well as factual (in most cases) accounts that are shared in the context of the person’s life – mostly historical. The need for environmental context is almost always present and so we are introduced to this person in relation to their historical surroundings, often giving us a front seat view of an event we read out in the paper or in a textbook at some point.

Politics

Maybe even more recently, I am intrigued by political history and as they say, “history repeats itself” (I know this to be true with firsthand experience in fashion and furniture design) so I search archived accounts of leaders who demonstrated attributes similar to our current president. I think I am looking for hope.

Perspective

History gives us perspective. The older you get, the more you realize that humans don’t change that dramatically from generation to generation – at least not from those things that make us human – behavior and intention. We may do different things but our motivation is often similar – allowing us to experience compassion and empathy when we look backwards. It can also promote deep gratitude; for the people who came before us – their struggle, efforts, and intent.

We can always be learning and growing. One of the ways to do that is to…

Read a book about history.

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

#201 Own Your Story

I believe it is important to honor the struggles, the mistakes, and the embarrassments so that we can stand tall today knowing that we made it through each of the storms that tried to take us down.

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.

#201

Own Your Story

Take a look around – a good look. Notice where you are, who is with you, and what is good about your life. It may not be everything but chances are, something in your life right now IS right. Maybe it’s your job or your relationship, your home or your kids. Maybe it’s your best friend or your bank account. It might not be any of those things but just a complete sense of peace upon your heart. Now, think about the road that brought you here – to this very place – right this minute.

Remember the journey

The path you’ve been walking may have been riddled with boulder sized problems. Some of it may have been underwater and you thought you might drown before you got to the other side. Some of it was easy-peasy… a long straight away without any curves or steep areas that wore you out. No matter the terrain – each and every step you took brought you here. To this place.

Looking back

Many of the people I talk to resent the journey, are ashamed of their journey, or avoid thinking of the energy that got them this far. I contest that it is critical to stop from time to time and look back at all the challenges. I believe it is important to honor the struggles, the mistakes, and the embarrassments so that we can stand tall today knowing that we made it through each of the storms that tried to take us down. No matter what they were, taking responsibility for them and acknowledging that they taught you something is an important part of personal growth and shame release.

Gratitude

Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of gratitude is looking back at those difficult times and finding the energy to be grateful that they happened. The reality is that walking that way – brought you here. Each turn that you took – even if it was a wrong one – led you to where you are right now and as we considered  a moment ago – there IS something great, positive, and wonderful about the here and now – at least one thing. Express gratitude for the road, the storms, the uphill struggle and every last detail of what they taught you. That’s the way to emotional freedom… to…

Own your story.

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