#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.

#91 Host a Party – Just Because

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.

#91

Host a Party

The days of dinner parties for the sole purpose of spending time with people we enjoy seems to be a thing of the past. Granted, some of us may invite friends over for a barbeque or pizza night but in my world it most often meant the kids too and was the only way we made the effort to socialize at home. I’m making this recommendation to bring the party back home – just because.

Hosting

Back in the day of dinner parties, people used their best china, set out the crystal and sterling, and donned a string of pearls when they hosted friends. I’m not recommending that kind of formality as it also – has gone by the wayside in most urban homesteads. A ‘party’ for this reference is any gathering of people for the enjoyment of one another company and not for a special occasion. It can mean dinner, or not. It can mean decorations, or not. It can include alcohol, or not. And it can be formal, or not. Hosting means that you decide, you plan, you do the work (or delegate), and it’s at a location of your choice, preferably your home where you can relax and enjoy.

Doing the Work

I know. Hosting a party can be a lot of work but … it doesn’t have to be! Learning to keep it simple and allowing the pleasure of one another’s company to be the center focus is easier than one would think IF, you can learn to let go of a few things. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be creative. It doesn’t have to be homemade. Giving the bathroom a wipe-over and running the vacuum will help others feel less germ-o-phobic but no one is going to be looking at your baseboards or inside your kitchen cabinets. Asking people to bring a dish to share eliminates a day of cooking and introduces you to different culinary options. Chill out and stay focused on the laughter you’ll generate as you play a round of Cards Against Humanity or belt out a few Karaoke songs.

Theme

Since the goal is to have a party “just because” get-togethers for exchanging something (ornaments, cookies) don’t count; nor do demonstrations like Pampered Chef or Lularoe. The goal is not ‘thing’ related – it’s ‘doing’ related. Get together and engage in comradery. If you absolutely need something to go on – create a theme:

  • Ask people to bring their favorite bottle of wine and do a wine tasting.
  • Ask people to bring a board game and try to play them all.
  • Ask people to bring their favorite dip and snack all night.
  • Ask people to bring a taco topping – provide shells and protein.

Benefits

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last 270 days or so, you’ve no doubt read about the benefits of friendship, laughter, belonging, and doing… hosting a party combines some of the best criteria for positive mental health outcomes so go ahead and look at your calendar … sometime around the middle of January when nothing else is prevalent and …

Host a party… just because.

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.

#123 Adopt a New Coping Skill

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.

#123

Adopt a new coping skill

Coping skill – those things that help us deal with the crap that life throws our way. They happen sometimes without much awareness and at others, with great intention. Some are health – others … not so much. Self awareness of the coping skills that we use to deal with things are super important. It’s necessary for us to distinguish between those things that work for us and those that don’t.

Dysfunction Coping

There are a handful of common ‘coping’ skills that are generally dysfunctional. Perhaps the most popular is avoidance. More often than not, when we avoid something – prevent ourselves from facing the problem – we do nothing more than save the discomfort for later. We deny ourselves the knowledge that we can exist simultaneously with the problem or better yet – solve it.

Overeating / Excessive anything

Another coping mechanism that we often turn to is that of comforting ourselves by over indulging in things that make us feel better like wine, chocolate, cookies, beer, and comfort food in general. Our overindulgence in the things that make us temporarily forget our problem doesn’t erase the problem and may raise our risk of developing unhealthy addictions.

While there are a number of other undeniable coping strategies that aren’t helpful, there are a number that are!

Functional Coping

There are a number of great ways to work through stress, problems, and life challenges that are immensely effective and have overall positive effects. Exercise, Me Time, and Self Care are at the top of the list. They are the some of the things that create balance in life.

Meditation / Mindfulness

These strategies are perhaps the most efficient and effective when it comes to overall feeling better. The research about mindfulness and its helpful effect on health, emotions, stress, and pain is overwhelming but it take practice and perseverance to be truly beneficial.

Laughter

Learning to laugh, to find humor in the mundane, and to appreciate silly is also a great coping strategy. When we become so stressed that our tempers flare, humor can generally take the edge of negative feelings if not neutralize them all together.

Social Support

Just when we may feel like we would be better off in our sour mood alone, or when we don’t want to trouble anyone with our ‘issues’, that is the precise time to lean on our social support system. The friends and family members that love us, that know us at our core… those are the people who can stand behind us when times are tough. When we need to ask for help… they are the ones we ask. And yes… learning to ASK is a functioning coping mechanism.

Assess your current repertoire of positive coping skills and research one that you’ve yet to develop. Practice, practice, and practice in the pursuit of

Developing a new coping skill.

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

#190 Go Fishing

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.

#190

Go Fishing

I thought it a good idea to share this tip before summer ends so if you are so inclined, you can make plans to give it a try. For some, fishing is an active sport, frequently practiced. For many more of us, it has yet to be enjoyed. There may be an ‘art’ to fishing but this suggestion is more aligned for those of you who wish to have the experience versus develop a talent – but hey… you may find your passion here.

Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you walk into a sporting goods store and know nothing as there are a variety of ‘types’ of fishing; freshwater, deep sea, fly, surf, shore, ice, boat, rock… each one sporting an individual technique and equipment type. But for most of us, keeping it simple and basic would be a good call.

Here’s a good guide on how to get started:

 

Catching Fish

In almost every case, a fishing license is required so that’s the first step. Many of the places that sell bait also sell licenses for those over the minimum age requirement. I was always a bit squeamish about putting  worms on a hook but soon discovered that there is a tool for that (looking very much like tweezers). If you are fortunate enough to actually catch fish there are size requirements (length) for most species. Catch and release is where my interest lies even though I do love to eat fresh fish… cleaning them is an entirely different story and I’ll leave that to the people with stronger convictions than me.

Why bother?

So if you are just going through all that effort but not eating your catch, why bother? Clearly, the challenge is enticing to some… the thrill of the chase – or catch. Strengthening a technique or skill – practice – is always good. But there’s more…. The development of patience. Fishing takes patience. It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production, cardiovascular health, and may improve overall body strength (assuming you’re catching big fish). It encourages family bonding which, boosts immune functioning. It may incorporate laughter, implant fond memories, and encourage travel… more tenets of good living.

Sound worthwhile? Certainly worth a try… grab a friend or family member, do a little research, watch the video above and …

Go fishing!

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

Photo by Dieter Kühl on Unsplash

#261 Remember When…

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.

#261

Remember when…

This recommendation might sound a bit like the idea of savoring that I presented earlier but it’s a bit different in its goal. The idea here is to recall random shared memories of minor debacles when you are with another person with whom you have some history. Ideally, you’re thinking of a time that you can laugh about now. A time when you had solved a problem, survived a hazard, or preserved through a challenge.

The goal is laughter or at the very least, an appreciation for the lesson learned. It’s an opportunity to review a moment in time from another perspective and share a sense of satisfaction of a previous experience.

‘Remember when we got that flat tire and…’

‘Remember when I left the cake in the oven for an hour…’

‘Remember when we took the wrong bus…’

We all have countless recollections of mishaps and momentary errors in judgment that are retrospectively funny or immensely satisfying. Sometimes, just recalling the collection of awkward moments we shared with another strengthens our appreciation of their role in our life. It’s another type of walk down memory lane that can have you rolling on the floor laughing or being grateful that it is over now.

Pick up the phone today and share a blast from the past with an old friend or randomly bring it up at the dinner table tonight… “Hey honey…”

Remember when…

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

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

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.
#353
Laugh every day

Laughter really is the best medicine. The health benefits of laughter are well documented and the focus of legitimate scientific research.

A good belly laugh releases endorphins similar to crying that are known to promote healthy functioning. One study indicated that people identified to have a good sense of humor literally live longer. A sense of humor is defined as being able to see the funny side of things and to appreciate jokes or funny things. The people known to have a good sense of humor may burst into laughter over something as simple as a pun…

…What do you call cheese that’s not yours?
… Nacho cheese!!

Or a solid, comedian proven joke…

An Irishman is struggling to find a parking space.
“Lord,” he prayed. “I can’t stand this. If you open a space up for me, I swear I’ll give up the Guinness and go to mass every Sunday.”
Suddenly, the clouds part and the sun shines on an empty parking spot. Without hesitation, the Irishman says: “Never mind, I found one!”

But one doesn’t necessarily have to be a comedian to experience laughter in the ways that it becomes a benefit. We all can laugh, we just have to connect to the things that we find funny. Perhaps it’s a television show (or their YouTube clips) such as America’s Funniest Home Videos…

Sometimes it the spontaneous moments of innocence and/or ignorance that we can all relate to that are the funniest.

Perhaps it’s the variety of programs that dupe us as in Candid Camera …

Personally, those get me almost every time!! I laugh so hard that I cry. (I wonder if that means double the endorphins?)

Or for those of us who laugh at just pure cuteness of babies and/or animals…

 

Technology makes it super easy for us to include laughter in our lives today. At any point, we have instant access to videos like I’ve included above or a plethora of websites with jokes. We have memes and GIFs in our streams on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Laughter is only a swipe away at any time we want it.

The trick is to include it. Sign up to receive a Joke a Day with the LMAO app for iphone or the LOL Jokes app for Androids. Instead of surfing Facebook – spend a few minutes on YouTube searching funny videos. Check out Reader’s Digest collection of humor – some of the funniest written jokes I know of. Make it a habit!

Laugh every day!