Try: Bringing Color Into Your Life

Last week, we saw housepainters priming the house out our back window. We were filled with curiosity (especially me, a curious cat for neighborhood haps). What color would they go with? Would it be "startup grey", the most common color of the San Francisco neighborhood where we live? 

Aha! A sparkling, snappy blue!

Aha! A sparkling, snappy blue!

From early morning tea to evening dinner, getting to look out the window at the new bright blue house has genuinely brightened our lives. It seems so simple, but makes a difference in our lives. Just a color change! 

Here's another example. Check out this house. It's just a short walk from where we live:

I can't love it more.

I can't love it more.

There's something about the brightness that suggest strength, optimism and positivity. 

We may not all be ready to paint our houses ala Caribbean dream (though I wish we would), but bringing color into your daily life -- in the form of painting a room, or just painting a piece of furniture -- can melt a little stress and help pump up the good vibes. Finding and enjoying those positive feelings is what helps us ride the wave

A truly incredible row of houses in the Dominican Republic.

A truly incredible row of houses in the Dominican Republic.

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Try: Changing Your Body Temperature

Henri Matisse, Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, 1922.

Henri Matisse, Seated Woman, Back Turned to the Open Window, 1922.

I've found that when I'm stuck in cyclical thinking, or just feeling stuck changing my body temperature actually makes a difference. A hot bath is one way to go, but lately I've been finding a cool breeze is often what I need most.

Try removing a layer of clothing or opening a window when you're stuck in your thoughts. It’s simple, but it actually helps bring you back into the moment. The goal is getting grounded. Changing your body temperature helps.

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Try to: Say 100 Things You Are Grateful For

This comes from the ancient Jewish practice of Mussar, the study of character-building. I first learned about Mussar from Tiffany Schlain (Webby Award founder) when I saw a film she created as part of a 2014 project she entitled Character Day.

The Making of a Mensch from The Moxie Institute. The 100 Blessings concept starts at 4:53.

The idea is very simple. From the film's transcript:

For example, say you want to increase your sense of gratitude, which there's so much research today saying that if you feel more grateful you're gonna be healthier you're gonna have more mental strength and you're gonna sleep better.

There's a practice on gratitude based on the Jewish tradition of a hundred blessings a day. My good friend Armas first taught me about it. Every day you say say a hundred blessings. Everything from waking up first thing in the morning to the big moments to the little moments. Even when you go to the bathroom (that's the Jewish way).

100 blessings every day. Do I say them? I try.

At the end of the day as you're going to sleep instead of looking at your screen close your eyes and think about all those moments all those things are grateful for.

I love the image they chose to represent the imagining of the Day's gratitudes at sleep.

I love the image they chose to represent the imagining of the Day's gratitudes at sleep.

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Try: Mixing A Nature Soundtrack

Shack rain, calm fire, and beach rushing water, though unlikely, could be your actual soundtrack.

Shack rain, calm fire, and beach rushing water, though unlikely, could be your actual soundtrack.

I like Moodil because you can wait for the bad weather in your head to pass by creating your own mood-perfect nature soundtrack.

I tend to like the meadow nighttime sounds (as shown by the moon and stars) along with a calm fire and thunderstorm. But who cares what I like? Experiment your way into a relaxed background while cooking, working, or falling asleep.

I use the desktop version but Moodil is an app, so it's meant to be used on phones.

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Try: Spritzing!

Everyone loves a spritz.

Everyone loves a spritz.

About a year ago, a friend gave me a fancy makeup gift that included this great "mist" that prepares fancy people's skin for fancy makeup. Since I am neither fancy nor a makeup person (unless forced, like a little boy in a Sunday suit), I ended using the mist more than everything else. I realized the cooling feeling of water on my skin along with the gentle smells would distract and change my thinking. It's almost like a mental Pavlovian trick. You don't need to buy this mist to get it to work. I bet even rosewater in a little spray bottle would work. 

This is where you can find  mine , but others work just as well, I'm sure.

This is where you can find mine, but others work just as well, I'm sure.

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