I follow a blogger that goes by the title Single Dad Laughing. He posted an article titled, My 10 rules to break in order to break free already. The rules made me laugh, because a friend and I had already broken all ten rules more than thirty years ago. But still, it did give me pause. There are so many people that find those points a challenge. They suffer daily in their own skin, and are at a loss as to what to do about it.
So, as a Nana, I’d like to offer my 10 Life Hacks for a Happier You. It takes a more serious tone than Dad’s, but that’s what age does to you.
Rule No. 1 – Play, Laugh Out Loud, and stop covering your mouth when you do.
I have a friend who once pulled my hand away from my mouth when we started laughing. What surprised me was that my hand was there in the first place. I honestly did not realize it. That small gesture made me acknowledge I was hiding myself from the laughter. My teeth aren’t perfect, my mouth is too big, my laugh too loud. She helped me let go of all of that, and just enjoy the laughter.
Rule No. 2 – Look at yourself in the mirror for ten seconds.
No brushing your hair, your teeth, etc. Just look at yourself. Your eyes. Your cheeks. Your lips. Now say (preferably aloud), “I am strong. I am intelligent. I am gorgeous.” Do this often. Especially during really hard days.
Rule No. 3 – Every so often, change your hairstyle.
If it’s long, cut it short. If it’s short, grow it out. Color it. Style it. If you straighten it, or curl it, every day, stop. The transition will shake up your routine, and the comments will usually be affirming.
Rule No. 4 – Every so often, change your clothing style.
You know you’ve gotten into a routine. All of the people you hang out with expect you to show up in jeans and a t-shirt (or what-have-you). Freak them out. Wear a polo and khakis. Whatever your regular is, change it. Try it once a week.
Rule No. 5 – Stand tall.
As we go about our day-to-day lives, the weight of the world wears us down. When you catch a glimpse of yourself in a reflection, notice your shoulders. Draw them back. Hold your head up. When you go somewhere, walk in with the attitude that you own the place.
Rule No. 6 – Pick a bad habit, and break it.
We’ve all got a few. I can tell you first hand, there is nothing so liberating as shedding the weight of a burden. Especially burdens we place on ourselves. Bad habits grow over time, and for a myriad of reasons. You can stop the habit. You just have to decide to do it for youself, and no one else. Chew your fingernails? Coat them with pepper sauce. Smoke? Get the patch. Do whatever it takes. When you’ve stopped torturing yourself with a bad habit, you won’t believe the freedom!
Rule No. 7 – Stop being bullied.
At home. At work. At church. Walk away. When they start, and you know the signs of them starting on you, keep your mouth shut, arch an eyebrow, and walk away. I’ve done it. The silent stare works nine times out of ten (yeah, there’s been a lot of bullies in my life). Bonus: The silence drives those people nuts.
Rule No. 8 – (You’ve heard this one before.) Remove toxic people from your life.
We know who they are. Their number displaying on the cell is cringe-worthy. You try to hide when they come into the room. Stop hiding. Look them in the eye and tell them you don’t want to be around them. Then, distance yourself. It will hurt you both, but you have to do it. Do what it takes to regain the control they have over you. Block their number. Get a new job (if you must). Issue a restraining order. No, I’m not talking about your mom. Unless, of course, she’s truly toxic. Then, yeah.
Rule No. 9 – Now, help others.
This one’s really hard. Once you’ve accomplished numbers seven and eight, recognize those friends around you who are suffering at the hands of bullies and toxic people. Intervene. Step between them and use that practiced arch of the eyebrow on the toxic one. Turn and smile at the victim. Offer to buy a coffee, take a walk, and just diffuse the situation. Be the role model. Unless, there’s a gun involved. Then call the cops. Seriously. There’s a line here, people.
Rule No. 10 – Profess your faith in public.
Say it. God’s blessings to you, or, Allah be praised, or even, May Zeus forever light your way. Most everyone has faith in something. Don’t be embarrassed by it. Embrace it. Feel it. Be proud of it. And never, ever, ever belittle another person’s belief. Ask them about it. Allow them to be empowered by the confession of their own faith. If there is magic in this world, it is the belief in the supernatural. It connects us, and excites us. And makes our lives that much more enjoyable.
I hope you’ve found these points enjoyable, if nothing else. Should you truly decide to try them out, I believe they will help you understand your life, and be happier in it.