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

Ultimately, writing your story has the potential to provide a great sense of peace that where you are now is the result of a winding road and regardless of the bumps…

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.

#329

Write your story

If your life ended today, would people really have known you? Is there a truth you want told? Is there a perspective you’ve wished to share? What are the messages and ideas that you’d like to have be a permanent part of your story?

Writing your story is not only a great way for future generations to know you but it is a good way for you to put your life into perspective – to see it as a whole; a living, flowing creation.

The most important element derived from writing your story is that it most likely will demonstrate great resilience. Most of us have endured pain, heartache, disappointment, despair, and fear. By describing those times in conjunction with the resolution and emergence into something different, we are able to see the entirety of the cycle instead of staying focused on the more noxious elements.

Your story gives your life a living voice, one that others may connect to, and one with which others may resonate. It may offer hope to others experiencing similar adverse events; showing them how to move toward the other side.

Writing your story allows your voice to be articulated; to have shape. It demonstrates your side, your perspective, your focus; delivering context that has only been available from your view. It allows you to see the connectedness of events, time, and learning in a way that is only available in retrospect.

It may help you to reaffirm  your values. Often when we see our lives from a deep, rich, linear perspective, it validates our choices; affirms our position; cements our belief system. It helps provide clarity of the things we declare as important in our life.

Ultimately, writing your story has the potential to provide a great sense of peace that where you are now is the result of a winding road and regardless of the bumps… it led here. Even if ‘here’ isn’t where you want to be, you’ll likely notice that this isn’t the first difficult challenge you’ve faced and you’ve demonstrated the resources in the past to move through. You may find new energy to persevere.

No time like the present for you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard as you begin to…

Write your story.

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

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

We know that the more people smile, the better they are to cope with stress and that they report higher in life satisfaction.

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.

#335

Smile

When was the last time you smiled without a reason? It turns out that the practice of smiling – randomly for no actual reason – actually increases happiness. The muscles stimulated by smiling triggers a release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins – the chemicals that, when activated, allow us to feel happy.

In a landmark study with college students, Kraft and Pressman (2012) validated that students who produced a smile were able to recover from stress more effectively than students who were instructed in the opposite. This concept has been further probed by leaders in the Positive Psychology field and substantiated. We know that the more people smile, the better they are to cope with stress and that they report higher in life satisfaction.

Especially interesting is that we don’t have to smile spontaneously for this effect to be present! Indeed, just the act of smiling produces some affect.

The goal then, is to make an effort to smile more often whether you feel like it or not. Smile in the car on your way to work. Smile in the shower or while you are dressing. Smile at strangers just for the heck of it (many of them will smile back – perhaps initiating the ripple effect). Smile for a full 60 seconds before you get out of bed in the morning and notice the difference.

I assign the task of smiling to The Elevate Class students and they report overwhelmingly how surprised they are when it really does make a difference. It’s like a water soluble vitamin though… it’s only in your system for a day or so after you take it…  you have to smile every day for the effect to be in place.

Experiment a little and for no particular purpose…

Smile.

Let me know how it goes! I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo on Foter.com

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

Either rearrange your perfunctory behaviors or add something significant. Beginning something new is especially effective when it is constructive to personal growth. Begin a gratitude journal or take a class; learn a new language or how to play an instrument.

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.

#337

Change your routine

How often do you feel you’re in a rut? Do you ever get the sense that life is just full of habits, routine, and rituals? Perhaps mostly unconscious?  Has your daily routine become mundane?

You see, moving along in the rut of routine can impact our ability to be notice life. It becomes so rote that we enter autopilot mode and tend to fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak. Remember that time when you arrived at your destination but noticed that you had no recollection of actually driving there? That’s how easy it is for our brains to check out… to shift into unawareness.

What doesn’t grow, will eventually die and so when you notice monotony settling into your day to day life it’s important to be aware. It’s a loud and clear signal that some element of your routine needs to be rearranged. Perhaps you go for a walk after breakfast instead of before. Maybe you eat your largest meal around noon and lighten it up in the evening.

Deleting habits that aren’t productive can also be beneficial. If you habitually wake up, pour coffee, and light a smoke… try waking up – meditating (or praying) for 5 minutes – and shower before grabbing your coffee. Set the alarm 30 min earlier and take a walk, go to the gym after work, or make dinner from scratch. Making these small changes to your daily activities can produce enough variety to kick you out of the doldrums. Getting out of that rut may be a simple tweek, as you just…

Change your routine.

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.

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

Best friends call us out on the shit we dish up for ourselves. We tend not to defend ourselves to them the way we may our spouse or partner. Because we don’t question their love for us, we generate very different reactions by their challenges and we take in more of what is said.

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.

#352

Schedule friend time

This is one of those happy life tips that we innately ‘know’ and yet it is the one most frequently thrown on the back burner. As we build careers, family, and homes it seems that friendship moves steadily down to the bottom of our priority list.

I say… move it on up!

I postulate that the reason our friends stay our friends for so long is that we don’t live with them 24/7. Unlike our life partners and children, our friendships get space. When we are frustrated with our friends, we go home. When we are disappointed, we let a few days go by before we call. If we aren’t really on the same page- we take a break until the memory fades. And then, regardless of the pejorative infraction, we rally back together to enjoy the connection that is often impervious to the daily stressors we experience in our familial relationships.

Our friendships ‘feed’ us because they are often without expectation. They can be a ‘resting ground’ where we go to step back and gain perspective. Our friends are almost always voices of reason while simultaneously having our back. Spending time with friends allow us to regenerate and realign our attitudes. They provide a platform for fun and laughter; for stillness and acceptance; for reflection and honesty. And spending time with them needs to be more important than weeding our garden or changing the sheets.

Best friends call us out on the shit we dish up for ourselves. We tend not to defend ourselves to them the way we may our spouse or partner. Because we don’t question their love for us, we generate very different reactions by their challenges and we take in more of what is said.

If your life is short on time (like it is for many of us), double duty some of your errands by asking a friend to tag along and have lunch or dinner along the way. Chores are more fun and often more productive when shared with a friend and laughter. Some of my favorite memories are those everyday tasks that were shared in friendship.

Don’t forget a weekend trip or two throughout the year as well. Time away from home where your focus is on yourself and wrapped in friendly acceptance and fun cannot be undervalued. One’s ability to be a better parent, partner, and worker is elevated when friendship is also valued and incorporated into life.

Take a quick look at your calendar and …

Schedule friend time.

 

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

Photo on Foter.com