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

People stop being random subjects in our space and we begin to notice their humanity. When we pay close attention we can discern worry, joy, hesitation, and humor in people’s facial expressions and body language.

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.

#331

People watching

Whether we are in an airport, on a train, standing in line, or sitting on a park bench… we are likely to be watching the people surrounding us. Sometimes we are absent mindedly observing, not paying any particular attention. Sometimes we are sitting there unwittingly passing judgement. Sometimes we are trying to ascertain the life story of an individual, couple, or family in our sight line; curious to know if our observations have any merit.

People watching can help you develop mindfulness habits; tuning into the acute details of your environment. People stop being random subjects in our space and we begin to notice their humanity. When we pay close attention we can discern worry, joy, hesitation, and humor in people’s facial expressions and body language. An astute observer can decipher how an individual identifies (by the way they dress, condition of fingernails, jewelry, makeup, hairstyle & color, etc.), their self-esteem (do they stand tall with confidence or crouch small with insecurity?), their emotional state, their level of ‘niceness’ (do they smile back or hold the door open?), and perhaps even their level of extroversion.

The big caveat of course, is that what we see isn’t always what it IS.  Some people are experts at hiding their truest feelings. Some people walk through life ‘faking it until they make it’. Some people have developed defensive personas for their public engagements. While we can’t know ‘for certain’ without checking our assumptions, we can definitely hone our perception skills by taking the time to pay attention to details when we are passing time in public and …

People watching.

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

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

By the time we are adults in our own homes, raising children, working jobs, and trying to maintain our relationships – the list of ‘should’s’ is longer than the day is long. We are striving to meet demands and expectations which have piled up through the years, without questioning…

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.

#340

Turning should into could.

From the moment we become aware, rules guide us. We learn about standards, values, and expectations before we learn to talk. These elements become the list of ‘should’s in our life.

I should make my bed every morning

I should eat breakfast

I should finish my dinner

I should do my homework

I should be nice

Etc.

These should’s establish the base from which our life is guided and some of them are quite central to ‘who’ we are.

The problem with should’s is that many of them fail to make sense outside of the environment in which they were originally established but we continue to hold on to them.

One of my favorite stories is of a woman who began preparing dinner one morning while her mother – who was visiting – sat in the kitchen to keep her company. The woman was readying a large roast for the crock pot. She cut a healthy slice from each end, threw them away and placed the roast in the pot. Her mother, looking wide-eyed questioned the action “why would you throw away perfectly good meat?” The woman, looking perplexed at the inquiry explained “that’s what you always did…”. With a stout laugh, the mother quickly responded, “but honey – that’s because my pot was too small.”

This story exemplifies the all-too-familiar behavior that many of us are affected by from day to day.

By the time we are adults in our own homes, raising children, working jobs, and trying to maintain our relationships – the list of ‘should’s’ is longer than the day is long. We are striving to meet demands and expectations which have piled up through the years, without questioning their validity for this period of our lives, this day, or this hour.

Of course, we all have responsibilities and obligations that are important to us and we want to accomplish them. However, instead of commanding yourself to do something because you SHOULD…. First examine where it is coming from.

Are you taking down the curtains and washing them because it is important to YOU? Or is it something your mother did because she lived on a dirt road and the windows were open all spring?

Are you making a casserole for your sick neighbor after work today because that’s what the other gals who are at-home moms did? Or because you want to help your friend?

Are you saying no to lunch with a friend because you ‘should’ stay home and get the laundry done?

Rephrase your ‘should’ to ‘COULD’.

I should do the laundry today instead of having lunch with my friend.

I COULD do the laundry today instead of having lunch with my friend.

When you rephrase the thought with COULD… does it have the same pull?

When you use the word COULD – your brain understands it as if you are CHOOSING something rather than engaging in a behavior which is expected.

The psychological difference is dynamic. You’ve created CHOICE in your life instead of an expectation that is not authentic to you just by …

Turning should to could.

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

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

Perhaps the most compelling reason to change our sheets is the sense of comfort and pleasure that fresh sheets compel almost Every. Single. Time.

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.

#341

Fresh Sheets

The mention of fresh sheets brings a sigh of ‘ahhh’ when ever it is considered. Memes suggesting fresh sheets and shaved legs are heavenly experiences float through social media with happy puppy faces and satisfying smiles.

when-you-got-fresh-sheets-and-you-just-shaved-your-4140554

As I investigated people’s thoughts about sheets, I found a variety of practices as it pertains to how frequently people do change their sheets. From “weekly, duh!” to “umm…. I really can’t remember”, it seems that only some of us have a hard fast rule.

There are all kind of reasons that we might consider a more regimented protocol for clean linens but this post is not about hygiene. Perhaps the most compelling reason to change our sheets is the sense of comfort and pleasure that fresh sheets compel almost Every. Single. Time.

Have a rough day at work? Change your sheets before going to bed.

Feeling lonely? Change your sheets before going to bed.

Need to be your best tomorrow? Change your sheets before going to bed.

We are programmed to associate cleanliness with good health and/or a sign that things are ‘right’. The act of going to bed in an environment that smells and feels clean, tricks our brain – if only momentarily – to believe that everything is in place – in order – and good to go.

To make the experience as good as it can be, I strongly recommend that we all have at least one set of amazing sheets. While the experts vary in their opinion of thread count, they all seem to agree that Egyptian cotton is by far, the best.  As long as the thread count is at least 200 and European Egyptian, you will be sleeping on some of the most comfortable fabric in the world. An 800 count EE sheet is some of the most luxurious bedding to experience. It compels nudity for an entire sensate experience. Think about it tonight and treat yourself the experience of …

Fresh sheets.

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

Photo by Chechi Pe on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

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

Perhaps it is this education – this kind of learning – that proves to be the ultimate training. While acquiring ‘data’ or ‘information’ allows us to answer trivia questions and fix things around the house, I contest that it is far less meaningful than what we achieve if we ‘learn’ about ourselves and the world around us.

I”m 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.

#344

Educate yourself

The expectation of education is motivated from a very early age. In several cultures the idea of education includes post secondary instruction without question and many of us are groomed to attend trade school, Community colleges, or Universities before we are fully able to comprehend the extent of that commitment.

Our pursuit of knowledge is primarily vocation driven; we learn what we need to know in order to produce the income that sustains our lifestyle. Some of us expand our competencies in the pursuit of secondary incomes or hobbies. We amplify that expertise over time so that our proficiency is deeply rooted but perhaps not especially broad.

And yet in reality, the entire world is a classroom. Indeed, our very lives are a continuous curriculum of material offering educational content. Each failure, each joy, undeniably – each day – brings us information that we can attribute as educational and learn from if we choose.

Perhaps it is this education – this kind of learning – that proves to be the ultimate training. While acquiring ‘data’ or ‘information’ allows us to answer trivia questions and fix things around the house, I contest that it is far less meaningful than what we achieve if we ‘learn’ about ourselves and the world around us.

Yes, academic education has value and its continuous pursuit is desirable; do as much as you can regardless of your age or position. The public can utilize most college libraries for little to no cost; offering motivated learners unlimited opportunities and the internet can perhaps match that offering.

Self knowledge is just as accessible with introspection, mindfulness, and reflection.  Read books on emotional development, emotional intelligence, communication, relationships, and spirituality. Be curious – about everything and stay open to new ideas. Take advantage of wisdom where you can find it; older relatives, friends, counselors, & clergy. Don’t let teachable moments slip away unnoticed or unappreciated. Use them to…

Educate yourself

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

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

If you have a few extra bucks it doesn’t hurt to treat people now and then to random surprises but mostly… kindness is pure heart driven.

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.

#347

Spread kindness

This ‘life hack’ is a no -brainer. It’s as old as time with the essence of ‘do unto others as they would do unto you…”.

We ‘know’ to do this; some call it chivalry – others call it manners. But… how much attention to we really pay to distributing kindness – especially when people are neutral or worse, unkind to us?

Our lives are busy and we are more increasingly finding it difficult to pay attention to our individual family members, let along complete strangers. And yet, the simple act of extending a kind gesture carries an impact that may extend far beyond either of the parties involved. This ‘ripple effect’ is mostly silent and unseen.

Suppose I take a grocery cart from an elderly gentleman in the parking lot and return it for him, smile brightly and wish him a good day…

I have no way of knowing how lonely he felt that morning and my comment lifted him. He goes to the bank and feeling lifted – comments to the bank teller about her beauty.

He had so way of knowing that earlier that day her drunk husband called her a pig and she was still reeling from the insult. Because her esteem was slightly lifted, she extended a courtesy to a customer and credited back a bank fee.

She had no way of knowing that the bank fee she was crediting made the difference that allowed that customer to afford extra groceries to make a dinner for a neighbor who was sick.

And on… and on… and on… it goes.

Performing acts of kindness of a regular basis has tremendous health benefits. It appears that extending kindness contributes to happiness, slows aging, improves heart function, improves our relationships and is reportedly – contagious.

And… it’s mostly free! The only thing it takes to extend kindness is effort & attitude. If you have a few extra bucks it doesn’t hurt to treat people now and then to random surprises but mostly… kindness is pure heart driven. Pick up a piece of litter, pick something up that has been dropped, open doors, smile, say kind things, let someone go first or jump in line, run an errand, cook a meal, clean a room, take in garbage cans, loan a book, et cetrra, et cetera… it doesn’t matter what the effort, just look around and…

Spread kindness

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

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

All too often we fall into the trap of routine and favorites without adding intrigue anywhere in our life. Exploration protects against stagnation. Grab a friend or explore alone…

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.

#349

Explore

This tip is subject to individual interpretation. My favorite type is exploration involves an automobile and a map. Waking up on Sunday morning, packing a snack bag, and heading out to discover treasures on a road never before traveled.

It’s a tradition started by my father and one that I’ve carried on to this day. I’ve found quaint villages, amazing diners, quiet spots, and captivating historical nuggets simply by traveling down a road that I’ve never investigated. It’s true that as time goes by I need to travel further out but the discoveries continue and the pleasure of new information and charming revelations has yet to be exhausted.

Of course, exploration doesn’t have to mean a car – it can be applied to people as in meeting new friends. It can be information as applied to learning something new. It can be an expedition through YouTube.com or a University library. Explore anything that is interesting to you. The point here is to motivate and enhance curiosity and interest so that life doesn’t get stale.

All too often we fall into the trap of routine and favorites without adding intrigue anywhere in our life. Exploration protects against stagnation. Grab a friend or explore alone… step into that little shop you’ve been curious about or stop for desert in that restaurant you’ve wanted to try. Is there a park you’ve been meaning to walk through?

Don’t wait until a moment of boredom overtakes a hot summer weekend. Make exploration a part of your journey in some form. Add this one word to your to do list today…

Explore

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

Photo by byzantiumbooks on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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

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.

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!