#19 Realign Yourself

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.

#19

Realign Yourself

This post is NOT about your spine although I could definitely do a post about visiting a Chiropractor… this post is about realigning your behavior with your value system. You see, as the driver of our lives, we do many of the same things we do when we drive our cars… we hits bumps in the road; we go too far without routine maintenance; and we can spin our wheels so long that we get worn out along the edge. When that happens on our vehicle, we take it in for an alignment and this post is suggesting that we do the same for our mind/spirit/body connection.

Off the Straight Line

You know when a car needs an alignment because the steering is a little wobbly and it won’t go in a straight line when you take your hands off the wheel. It takes more effort to steer. The same is true for life. When you despise going to work every day – or home… when your stomach turns each time the phone rings or mail gets delivered… when you run into someone you know or when you get invited to a party – any negativity that arises may be indicating that your action(s) may not be consistent with your value system.

Physiological Evidence

Our bodies are great barometers for when our actions are out of alignment with who we want to be. We feel bad, guilty, or ashamed. We get defensive, argue, and raise our voices. We may get headaches, have stomach trouble, or back pain. We may even break out with zits, pimples, or hives.

Real Examples

Let’s say you made a decision to value honesty but you – out of habit – told a series of ‘white’ lies in an effort to avoid confrontation…  or you go to work everyday to a department that has historically reported jacked up results to look good… or you volunteer with someone who helps themselves to product when ‘on duty’ – all examples of dishonesty. The migraines you began having last year soon after you committed to being a more honest person may be indicative of the discord between your value and the dishonest environment in which you find yourself.

Or perhaps you’ve made a commitment to have a closer relationship with God by living the doctrine of your faith more passionately. Now, you find that every time someone uses the Lord’s name in vain or curses up a storm – the hairs on your neck tingle. Or perhaps those are habits that you are finding difficult to break. The angst you feel getting up each morning may be your body reminding you to pay close attention today – to the commitment you made.

Values Change

As we grow, mature, and experience life as too do the values that we hold dear. As a young twenty-something, I valued parties and social variety much more than I do today where sharing a bottle of wine with one or two friends in a quiet, relaxed environment is my idea of meaningful engagement. Were I to step out and try to ‘party’ every weekend, it would be inconsistent with my current ‘value’ and I may find that I am ‘off’. If I keep doing it… If I keep dishonoring the value that I’ve adopted, being ‘off’ turns into something more obvious and I am left with the need to figure out why I have developed insomnia or a bad attitude.

Just like you do when the steering wheel starts to wobble… step back every once in awhile and take stock of your values – matching them against your actions & behavior. Pay attention and notice when it is time to …

Realign yourself.

TTAH

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#24 Learn Martial Arts

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.

#24

Learn Martial Arts

While this is an activity that is often introduced at an early age, it’s an activity that we are never too old to learn. As long as you are willing to move your body, practice patience, and you won’t throw up each time a ten year old advances past you… you are able to learn a martial art.

Defense

One of the primary benefits of knowing a martial art is the ability to practice self defense. A solid karate chop will set back almost any average offender. We’re never too old to defend ourselves. Self defense is an essential life skill. When we are able to think quickly and react as such, it is a skill that transfers to many other aspects of our life.

Overall Health

Your martial arts activity will be good for your overall health. Just the fact that you’re getting regular exercise has all the traditional benefits. Martial arts training is specifically good for your heart and bones. Some people believe that engaging in martial arts can actually reverse the aging process!

Personal Challenge

Learning a martial art can be as good for the soul as it is for the body. Challenging oneself to push physical boundaries increases esteem, confidence, and trust. The increase in physicality will encourage you across all areas of your life.

There’s a lot to gain from taking the time to…

Learn martial arts.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

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.

#56 RePot Your Plants

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.

#56

RePot Your Plants

This is often a spring activity but for houseplants, why wait? Especially if they are dropping leaves, not flowering, or quickly drying out – potential signs of a root bound plant. Some people think that as long as plants get enough water and a little sun – that’s all there is to it. Not so!

Over time, that sun and water allow the plant to grow, developing a nice root system as it does so. Those roots can take over the entire pot as it absorbs nutrients from the soil. You may notice roots poking through the bottom of the pot or starting to lift at be base of the plant. Both are clear indications that the plant is desperate for a bigger home.

There is a right and wrong way to repot a plant and the internet is full of videos and articles that explain the best method for the type of plant that you are working with. In some cases, you can literally saw the root ball in half and make two out of one.

For others, transitioning the plant into more comfortable digs means that you need to loosen the soil around the roots as it often gets compacted. Think about how good it would feel to stretch out in your bed after being cramped on a long economy flight and you’ll be able to empathize. Fresh soil is to a plant what nice clean sheets are to a tired traveller. Once your plants have taken up residence in their new home, they’ll need a little extra tender loving care until the root system takes hold in its new environment.

Bound roots aren’t the only reason you may need to repot your plants. The leaves tell a story too, about the soil conditions and potential problems that may require a fresh mix. The Sill is a great resource for plant lovers and problem solving. It’s really a one-stop resource for house plant care.

Live plants add good energy to your living environment and help to keep the air fresh. A little love goes a long way so take care to show them some and …

Repot your plants.

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

#73 Hire a Physical Trainer

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.

#73

Hire a Physical Trainer

Are you a faithful gym goer? Are you completely sure your workout is the one that best fits your body and goals? For a trainer to work with you and establish a set of exercises that will help you reach your goals and efficiently develop your muscles, you will spend anywhere between $40 and $90 an hour. Considering that a trip to the emergency room can run in the thousands, a trainer makes more sense.

Accountability

Perhaps one of the most beneficial elements of paying for a personal trainer is that he or she hold us accountable for reaching the goals we establish. On those sets where we can’t seem to bring ourselves to finish – the trainer is there to encourage us and help see us to the finish line.

Variety

When we get used to a routine, it’s good for awhile but then it can become boring and when something is boring – we’re less likely to pursue it over time. Additionally, a trainer is versed in a number of different workouts that work the same goal and can help us change thing sup so that our goals are achieved without the workout becoming mundane.

Stubborn Fat

Trainers are experts in knowing how to get those spots on our body that remain resistant to self motivated reduction. Whether it’s belly fat, arms, or the small back rolls that pop up with a few extra pounds – a trainer may have a trick or two that can address those problem areas.

Self Care

Hiring a trainer is an ultimate form of self care. Its demonstrating that you are important enough to invest in yourself. It’s not only the professional advice, but the dedication to pursue a workout that helps you to reach your physical health goals.

No matter your age, indeed – at every age – an expert directing your workout can provide benefit beyond what has been mentioned. Give yourself a boost to any New Year’s resolutions you may make about getting to the gym and commit to …

Hiring a personal trainer.

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

 

#75 Check for Vitamin Deficiencies

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.

#75

Check for Vitamin Deficiencies

When was the last time you had a physical? And in particular, did it include a thorough vitamin panel to check for deficiencies? Our bodies have a method for letting us know but when we don’t know the signs, we aren’t able to ‘hear’ what our body is saying. Some vitamin deficiencies can lead to extreme health problems – others can create chronic difficulties.

Here are the things to pay attention to:

Omega 3’s

Fatty acids are essential for our skin. They act as lubricants for our body and when we are low, we are likely to see flaky skin, especially on the scalp. Cracked and peeling skin on the hands and feet are also a fair sign that your body may be low in Omega 3’s.

Fixing this problems is primarily accomplished by eating foods containing the vitamins; fish, nuts, and oils up to just over a gram a day for most adults. An average piece of salmon will contain almost a week’s worth; throw in a few nuts and a little oil and you’ll be all set.

B Vitamins

We need several of the B vitamins; B1 (Thiamine), B6, and B12. Beginning with Thiamine, a deficiency is rare in the United States but people who drink alcohol excessively are susceptible to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and may experience tingling and numbness in their extremities, weight loss, confusion, and weakness to name a few symptoms.

Eating meats, whole grains, and beans as part of a normal diet will generally offer enough of this vitamin

B6

People with kidney dysfunction, autoimmune disorders, and alcoholics have difficulty absorbing enough Vitamin B6 from their diet. Poultry, fish, and non-citrus fruits will help but so will adding a supplement (do so only with a doctor’s recommendation).

B12

As many as 15% of Americans don’t absorb enough vitamin B12 – they may consume it, but lots of factors may prevent the absorption. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss, numbness, tinglings, depression, poor memory and a few others.

Most multivitamins contain B12 and a doctor can prescribe an additional injection if a deficiency is found.

D

The human body needs more vitamin D as it ages and the food we eat doesn’t naturally contain a sufficient supply. As you probably know, the sun is actually the source for most of our vitamin D supply and yet depending on where you live or how much exposure you have to daylight, you may not be getting enough.

Deficiencies in vitamin D causes brittle bones and leaves people susceptible to breaks and fractures. It can, in extreme cases, cause Rickets.

It is easily remedied with supplements but you can also get too much so it’s imperative to have your levels checked before adding supplements.

These are the major vitamins that affect your mind and body but certainly not the only ones. A blood test will give you more information so the next time you see your physician, be sure to…

Check for vitamin deficiencies.

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

#77 Switch Hands

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.

#77

Switch Hands

Want to give your brain a quick boost? Spend a day primarily using your non-dominant hand for a day. Try using it to zip, button, and snap. Soap your body, brush your teeth, and comb your hair with your ‘other’ hand. Keep going. Try buttering toast and reaching into the fridge opposite from how you usually do it.

This activity is considered exercise for your brain. Scientists tell us that if we are using one side of our body more often than not, it hold true also that we are using only one side of our brain more often than not. Something as simple as using a different hand will help you develop the other side of your brain; grow neurons.

Healthy Brain

In the same way we strive for better health in our bodies, it is imperative that we are attentive to keeping our brain healthy. If we change those little things that we do rotely, it forces us to use brain power and think about what we’re doing.

Healthy Body

If you’re right handed, your right bicep is probably stronger. You are likely right footed as well with more developed right leg muscles. Shifting things into your left hand will activate the left side and balance the muscle development in your body.

Marketing

Researchers have suggested that we tend to ‘lead’ based on our dominant hand; meaning that we will lead to the right when we are moving through a store, an amusement park, or generally anywhere we go. Watch what direction people tend to move as they exit an escalator or at the entrance to a concert hall. One of the most helpful tips I read when going to Disney World the first time was to go left as soon as we entered the park because most of us will automatically go right. [More than 70% of the world’s population is right handed.] And, by the way, it worked. Change is good for us all.

You may be surprised to discover the benefits of exercising your brain by making a commitment to …

Switch hands.

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

#100 Quit a Bad Habit

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.

#100

Quit a bad habit

It’s not quite the New Year when many of us will jump on the idea of eliminating the bad habits that hinder our best selves which, might just make it the best time to go ahead and quit now. Bad habits are those things that we do that we know aren’t helping us; the things that nag us more than our moms.

Obvious

These malicious behaviors are quite obvious and include doing anything in excess (drinking, eating, spending, etc.), smoking, nail biting, and snacking. They are the things we ‘know’ we need to stop doing for our health and overall welfare. These habits can literally put our life in danger. They impede our self image, our confidence, and esteem.

Subconscious

Some habits have developed underneath our awareness. Some of us twirl our hair incessantly or click a pen to the extent that our co-worker want to jump across their desk just to grab it away from us. Or how about that foot that shakes or the leg wiggle that indicates nervousness? Constantly smacking gum, or slurping coffee are common habits that go unnoticed by the habitour but are obnoxious irritations for those in the vicinity.

Verbal

Some of our bad habits are verbal… Saying the word “like…” far too often and contextually inappropriately; speaking too loudly for the environment; and using the sound “um…” in more than just an occasional sentence. While not directly verbal – many of us don’t make eye contact while speaking – a habit that is considered downright rude in many cultures.

Notice

As with anything, in order for it to be changed, you must be aware. Ask friends and family members for their observations to catch the things you aren’t aware of. Make a list of the items that you may want to work on and consider which ones are priorities – don’t try to make too many changes at once.

Twenty-one Days

In order to break a bad habit – replace it with a good one. If you are trying to stop smoking – chew gum instead. If you’re trying to break the habit of nail biting – find a way to keep your hands busy; crochet, knit, play with a fidget spinner or stress ball. If you can eliminate your bad habit for at least 21 days, the odds of beating it all together is greatly improved.

Don’t wait for the New Year and a resolution that will likely be broken quickly. Make the effort today so that you will go into the next year without that annoying behavior. Take a minute to pick one and then commit to …

Quit a bad habit.

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

#106 Check Your Posture

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.

#106

Check your posture

The next time you are watching a talk show of some nature (i.e., the morning news or Ellen), take notice of how tall and straight everyone is sitting. Compare that to everyone seated in the restaurant or the Starbucks you next visit. I suspect the difference is mostly the state of awareness that exists in the personalities on television. Those of us eating in a restaurant or grabbing a latte at the coffee shop aren’t (apparently) paying much attention to our personal posture.

Balance

Posture affects our balance. Balance affects walking, going up and down the stairs, getting up and down from chairs, getting in and out of the car, carrying things, and even turning our head. Hence, good posture is vital to many of the things we organically do throughout our day.

Health

Good posture plays an important role in our mood and in how people interpret our mood. It reduces neck and back pain and helps us look slimmer. Additionally, it helps us breathe more easily by allowing our lungs sufficient expansion room. And, because we are well oxygenated, we may learn more easily and retain information longer (improved memory).

Parameters

When you are standing with good posture, your chin will be parallel to the floor and your shoulders will be even. Your arms will down and your elbows, straight. Your weight will be distributed evenly across both feet on even hips. And it will feel good unless your muscles have already begun to adjust to an abnormal configuration.

Train Posture

Certainly, you can resort to the traditional ‘book on your head’ method of practicing posture. The goal is to find the position that puts the least strain on your joints and muscles. Or, you can imagine a straight line running through your body and it’s connected to the ceiling. Without standing on your toes, make yourself as tall as possible. You can strengthen the ligaments in your back by doing a ‘shoulder blade squeeze’… move your shoulder blades as close together as possible and hold them there for 5 seconds. Repeat ten times.

Upright

There’s also the Upright posture training device (this is not a commercial for the product – just passing along info). It’s a wearable device that vibrates slightly when your posture is out of alignment.  It’s part of the ‘wearable’ technology that monitors our body for optimal health and is a great way to retrain yourself to stay aware of good posture if you’ve gotten a little lazy about it.

The goal is awareness and good health. A simple piece of that is to be diligent and…

Check Your Posture

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