#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.

#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.

#109 Try a New Perfume or Aftershave

This suggestion is for those of you who know how to take a risk, who want to try something different, and who aren’t afraid of change.

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.

#109

Try a new perfume or aftershave

Have you been a creature of olfactory habit? Have you ‘smelled’ the same year after year because you’re fearful of finding another scent that works? Many of us have fond memories that relate to scents. I can’t smell Old Spice without thinking of my father and my mother, Estee Lauder. They wore those scents so long that they were synonymous with their roles.

Chemical Changes

It’s interesting to note that over time, our bodies chemical composition can change just enough so that the way it interacts with the chemicals in the cologne, it may smell different on us. Likewise, manufactures can tweek even one element of the scent structure and it interacts with us differently – changing the way it smells. It’s always good to have a fall back or another ‘go to’ scent.

Picking the Right Scent

While there are those that will never change – it’s not necessarily true that one scent fits all occasions. A light fruity scent may not be the most appropriate one for a winter holiday party. Likewise, a sexy soft scent probably isn’t a great choice for an important board meeting. Men also need to consider how strong their aftershave or deodorant is as compared to their environment. And ladies – when you spray, try to remember a little on the wrist goes a long way.

This suggestion is for those of you who know how to take a risk, who want to try something different, and who aren’t afraid of change. Of course, starting with samples is probably the best approach until you find something you enjoy. There’s no reason to accumulate a dozen bottles of scent that you won’t be wearing.

The next time you walk through the cosmetics department or find a magazine filled with samples – grab them so that you are ready to …

Try a new perfume or aftershave.

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

#111 Run or Walk a 5K

We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds.

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.

#111

Run or Walk a 5K

The weekend before Thanksgiving is approaching and it’s typically a popular weekend for ‘Turkey Trots’ and other big, sponsored runs. Why not make the effort to participate?

Perspective

To put this into perspective – most walkers will complete a 5K in about 45 minutes. It’s only about 6000 steps for the average stride (a piece of cake – or pie – for all of you who seek that 10K step goal) and you’ll burn 300 calories. Running of course, will be faster and burn more calories.

Benefits

While walking a 5K once and only once will feel like an accomplishment to those who participate, making it a regular practice has tons of benefits for you body and mind.

Walking improves your mood.

Walking improves your body strength.

Walking improves your cardiovascular strength.

Walking improves your balance and coordination.

Motivation

Maybe the best thing about these ‘organized’ walk/runs like a 5K is that they motivate us to do it with others – to be ‘a part’ of something. We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds. It’s easier to participate with someone than if we have to make the decision to get up and out on our own.

So, gather some friends and jumpstart your holidays with something that is good for you…

Run or walk a 5K.

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

#113 Play a Practical Joke

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.

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.

#115 Make Wine

There is a lot to learn and an entire industry to explore if you become curious about wine making.

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.

#115

Make Wine

Are you a wine drinker? A chemist? An inquisitive adventurer? Have you tried making wine?

Since the beginning of the current millennium, the number of American wineries has more than quadrupled and wine of some variety is now grown in all 50 states. With this type of availability, one might ask why bother to make your own and yet there are a number of us with devout curiosity about our ability to make a great glass of vino.

Process

Making your own wine doesn’t actually require a massive amount of grapes. It can be made from grape concentrate and it’s completely possible to purchase concentrate from almost any grape producing part of the world. Certainly, you can do the research, buy the grapes or concentrate, add the proper ingredients and chemicals, ferment the juice, and then bottle the result.

Options

You could take on the entire process yourself or… you could find something like The Wine Room in Cherry Hill, New Jersey where wine experts – having all of the ingredients and equipment available – are able to help you make a wine consistent with your tastes; you do the composing – they activate the process.

Shared Interest

This is one of those things that offers the opportunity for people to come together in their shared interests. It’s like a book club but wine making instead. It is the kind of thing that can motivate conversation, peak curiosity, and encourage cooperation all at once. It is a great activity for couples who share a liking for wine. It’s a great family project or special occasion effort (The Wine Room).

Grand adventure

There is a lot to learn and an entire industry to explore if you become curious about wine making. There are annual amateur competitions to be entered, tastings to win, and money to be granted. It could become a passion you never knew you wanted to pursue and overall, a grand adventure! If you have an interest in wine, you may consider spending some effort to …

Make wine.

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