Try to: Let Your Phone Die And Roam With A New Friend

stress relief

My friend Nell posted this one on Facebook earlier today:

Great idea: Let your phone die for hours and walk around the city with a new friend like you're in your twenties. #bliss

This struck me as a truly great idea. I've had a couple of accidental phone-free walks with new friends recently. They helped me see my surroundings with fresh eyes. Could be the same for you, if you decide to give this experiment a go.

If this experiment works for you, hit the heart (no login required) to let others know they should give it a try! 

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 to: Hang Out With a Kid

stress relief

Another experiment that worked for writer Madeleine Connolly. Her post on her improved mental health caught my attention. Here's what she says:

I work with kids, and I love it. I laugh every single day — probably ten times at least. Everyday is different, and everyday I learn new things from them. I practice compassion with them, and I get to witness the returns of that.

One of the best returns? Kids make you talk to them. You’re pretty much forced out of introversion when you work with kids, because you have to hold conversations about literally anything and everything. And their confidence can rub off on you too. I used to find talking with other adults who were confident to be difficult — it often used to make me feel even more introverted. But I found that’s not the same with kids, they’re just happy to be themselves, and for some reason it’s infectious.

I can’t explain it — but it’s a goddamned beautiful mystery that kids being themselves can help me to be myself.

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Try: Having a Conversation Outside Your Comfort Zone

I'd rather text too, btw. Always. Maybe text to hang out, then try the comfort zone convo?

I'd rather text too, btw. Always. Maybe text to hang out, then try the comfort zone convo?

If you don't usually reveal much about how you're feeling, try sharing something. If you're an over-revealer, sit back and learn about something new. If you talk to hide discomfort, try being quiet to see what happens. If you hate talking....you get the picture.

Get over the initial discomfort. Break the action down into something super small...one small comfort zone step at a time. 

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Try to: Seek Out Art

art

Nearly every book about meditation, mindfulness, and anxiety says the same thing: Bear in mind that you're not alone. It's a hard thing to feel, though. Does reading these words on the page from me, or even knowing I've felt some of the things you have, really make you feel less alone?  This is where art like music, reading, or theater help (at least, those are the things that help me--everyone is different). In the past, I've pushed them down the priority list. Putting this on the list is a way of saying: for me, art is key to turning down the volume knob on anxiety. 

If this experiment works for you, hit the heart to let others know they should give it a try!