#221 Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

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.

#221

Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Are you someone who goes to the same beach town each year? Do you have a timeshare that you visit every vacation? Do you have a mountain cabin, lake house, or beach bungalow that is your home away from home? Does that mean that you rarely see other parts of the country or of the world?? Perhaps it’s time for you to explore a little and schedule a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Ready for change

What type of landscape attracts you? What city have you always dreamed of visiting? Is there a place of solitude that has been tugging at your interest? If you weren’t tied to your family’s choice, where would you go? Are you bored to tears at the lake, looking for more nightlife than the crickets and fireflies offer or are you fed up with the traffic and city lights?

Where to go

Take a look at your calendar and a good hard look at a map… what part of the world is calling you? Maybe it’s just around the corner and is easily attainable. For destinations halfway around the world, it may take a bit more planning and saving but with dedication to the goal – still attainable. If you can’t decide then write down the top five and draw from a jar or close your eyes and point. If all else fails, try the old fashioned dart throw. After a destination is decided upon, investigate and plan. Take a look at all your options and put together a budget.

Pleasurable anticipation

Allow the anticipation to build as you imagine yourself in a new vacation spot. It will be new and exciting… perhaps a bit strange if you’ve been used to a particular location but discovering new things is responsible for pleasure more often than  not. A fresh location to experience rest and relaxation may be just the thing you need this year so go ahead and…

Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

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

#228 Buy Coffee for the Person Behind You

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.

#228

Buy coffee for the person behind you.

I’m sure you’ve heard of, perhaps even acutely aware of the ‘random act of kindness’ movement (#RAK).  You may even have performed one recently. What I’d like to suggest is that the next time you get in line to buy coffee, a latte, or a frappe – please consider paying for the drink that the person behind you has ordered (assuming you are in a drive through line). You could do it for the car behind you in an drive through that pre-orders (fast food, etc.).

We know that ‘kindness begets kindness’… when people are the receiver of a random act of kindness, they are more likely to perform one but it has to start somewhere. Why not be the one to initiate?

When you are kind, pleasure centers in your brain are activated. Your dopamine levels increase and you feel happier. When we are surprised, (by receiving a random act of kindness) we also have surges in dopamine, again feeling happier. It’s a win – win situation.

When I make this suggestion I sometimes hear objections of how difficult it is to find an extra $5 but really… it’s only $5 and it might mean that your coffee tomorrow is forgone but knowing that you’ve impacted the life of another in a positive way will override any deficiency.

It’s a simple suggestion, spending a few dollars on someone you don’t even know to promote happiness for you both. Why don’t you consider, the next time you are sitting in line at a drive through… promoting happiness by taking the time to …

Buy a coffee for the person behind you.

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

#230 Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

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.

#230

Give the Gift of Your Favorite Book

Yesterday I suggested that you re-read your favorite book and if you take me up on that suggestion…. Great! I hope you enjoy. Afterwards – or in the event that you don’t want to re-read it – write a note about why the book stands out in your mind, tuck it inside and give it to a friend (without giving away the ending).

Sharing Is Good

You might share why you are giving this particular book to that particular person. Is there something about the story that reminds you of her/him, or the relationship  you have with them? Is there something else that you think resonates within the story? Sharing things we love is good for our spirit. When we give away something we enjoy, we share a bit of ourselves as we hand over the material item.

Connections

This gesture is a small example of how we might foster social connections. Sharing is an integral part of connecting with others. Research tells us that when we share, the pleasure centers of our brain are activated – the same areas that turn on when we eat food that we enjoy or have sex. Because we take time to step outside of ourselves – out of our selfish perspective – we may also improve elements of depression or anxiety.

Kindness

Perhaps the best benefit of all is that we promote kindness which, is known to be one of those things that create forward ripples; kindness begets kindness. Not to mention that the gesture promotes reading. You may never know what goodness happens after you…

Give the gift of your favorite book.

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

#273 Write Down a Favorite Childhood Memory

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.

#273

Write down a favorite childhood memory.

Close your eyes for a minute and allow yourself to go back in time – back to when you were a child. Allow yourself to remember a moment of laughter, of comfort, or fun. What was happening then? Who was there? What were you thinking and feeling? What about that particular memory stands out?

Go ahead and write down the details – the answer to the above questions – for this memory and then do it again, and again.

Take the time to cherish, even savor, each of those memories as you write them. The act of writing will refresh your memory even more (perhaps stimulating additional details). Remembering pleasant times stimulates those pleasure areas in our brain and while they don’t spur the same level of chemicals that the actual even does, there is some dopamine production with the remembering.

Writing down the fun times helps to honor the experiences so that they balance our perspectives more evenly. Our brains are still wired to be noticing everything that is wrong (survival instinct) and so when we take time to reflect on the positives, we appreciate the true balance that typically exists in our overall existence.

If nothing else, writing down these memories captures them for our later reflection or maybe even more importantly, for the people who love us. My children are always intrigued about my childhood and how I spent time before video games and electronics. They find it interesting to imagine how we lived in a time that they’ve only read about or seen represented on television. The world is continuing to change, so capturing this little slice of history may be impactful to all of our future generations. How fun for all when we sit around and remember that time when Granny…

Write down a favorite childhood memory (or two).

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

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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

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.

#274

Do a good deed

Think about this phrase ‘do a good deed’ for a minute. What does it mean to you? Does it mean a kind gesture? What would that look like?

There are more ways to do a good deed than there are words to describe how it may be enacted. From returning a grocery cart for someone to paying for a full grocery order – it can cost nothing or as much as you would like to give. It can take barely any energy or be a full day of hard labor. It might be working with a bona-fide charity or simply some random act that was spontaneous.

It doesn’t matter how large or small a good deed is, the act itself is important. Why?

Turns out that when we do something nice for someone, the pleasure centers in our brain are activated – another way that we produce the happy chemical dopamine. Research has repeatedly indicated that people who are consistently benevolent report higher levels of well-being than others.

Perhaps the key element here is ‘consistent’. I’d wager that most of us have done something nice for someone at one point or another and we may not consider ourselves ‘happy’. Yet, when we extend kindness over and over again, day after day… we are also benefiting.

Kindness begets kindness and so our good deed may in fact, be the one that begins a ripple in the energy of generosity. Some would argue that the extension of kindness is the ultimate journey for our souls; that to aid those less fortunate than ourselves is a social or spiritual rule. In any regard – it will help you feel better about yourself and probably about your circumstances as we can always find someone more in need than we are.

Do yourself – do someone else – a favor today and …

Do a good deed.

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

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash