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self-improvement-title

Self Improvement; Children can do it, can you?

I wanted to start off by saying that the inspiration for this post came from a most amazing source. Recently my wife brought to my attention a brand of roll-up plush toys called Popples.

For those of you who don't know, Popples are these cute critters that get around by rolling up into a ball. Starting out as a cartoon series in 1986 the Popples plush toy line was a big hit. Sacha and I were sitting at our computers looking up a particular awesome purple Popple from her past. We are surfing the net when I find out that Netflix has relaunched the brand in a new Tv series. This news gets my wife really excited. Who wouldn’t be happy at the revitalization of an epic past memory?

Of course, at seeing her excitement I am all in to watch this new show with her.  We turn on the TV and fire up Netflix; Boom we are now emerged in a Popple adventure.

The plot and my point

One great thing about TV geared towards younger children is that each episode tries to drive home a lesson. Each episode, the Popples are faced with some sort of adventure or circumstance in which their choices have cause and effect. The aim of which is to help children understand the right and wrong ways to handle something. In this particular episode, Bubbles a Cheerful Popple with a love of all things cute, is running for class president. Running against her is Mike, an envious Green Popple. Mike is the benchmark on the show of how not to handle a situation.

Finding himself suddenly competing against Bubbles, Mike instantly knows he can not win. Bubbles is a good person that treats others with respect and kindness. Mike, being a rather manipulative little Popple, decides he is going to “drop out of the race”. It’s a ploy, of course, to pit Bubbles against her best friend Sunny. After tricking Bubbles into saying something out of context, which he records in secret, he plays back the recording to Sunny. It says that Bubbles does not think Sunny is a threat. By doing this, the two best friends are now trying to out do each other and they are both unhappy. However, rather than the plot coming undone, the two Popples take the time to talk out their issues. In the end Mike, was forced to finish running against a united front of Popple sisterhood.

It was the twins, “Not Me” and “I Don’t Know”

The problem with Mike, and this really rings true for a lot of humanity, is that nothing is ever Mike's fault. Mike treats the other Popples like a commodity and he manipulates them and uses them selfishly for his own gain.  Of course, Mike's plans never turn out in his favour.

In every situation, Mike’s natural response is to blame someone or something else. He’s never the master of his own destiny or in control of his outcomes, because he believes others should  become responsible and displaces the blame… and the accountability.

One point this show pushes? Solving your problems through self improvement. No matter how big the problem or how much work needs to be done to fix it, the Popples get it done.

A new way of life through self improvement

First things first, you have to do away with phrases like “I can't” or, “It's too hard” and, “Why does life hate me?”. Life is hard - that's a fact! That is still no reason to give in or wait for others to pick you up. You are the master of your own destiny regardless of circumstance; You always have options. Sometimes the options we are faced with suck though how you handle them and what you gain are very important.

It's easy to blame “Bob” for losing the big game and  it's easy to take out your feelings on someone else. The thing very few people want to do is look inward when things go wrong. Rather than giving Bob a hard time for missing that last goal, think what you can do to make yourself better. How can I change and adapt to this situation? It is very easy to place blame and never move forward. The trick comes when you stop complaining to everyone and stop dwelling on the unfairness of it all, good things will happen.

For example, rather than refusing to forgive Bubbles, Sunny takes the time to see past Mike’s lies. Together Bubbles and Sunny take a united stand against Mike to secure the class presidency. Sunny made a conscious choice to be a good friend, to take the time to check all her facts and move on. Being able to identify when you are dwelling on something that is unhealthy is a useful skill. If you find yourself sitting around filled with negative thoughts and you just can’t shake it, we’ve got a workbook for that!

Destructive thoughts got you down? Download our FREE 16-Page Interactive PDF Workbook!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD the "Sassy Solutions - How To Quickly Shift Destructive Thinking"

Self improvement in action

Around our household, we sit and watch children’s shows all the time. Good values, strong messages, and friggen cute to boot. For us, that’s a rather effective tool, but that’s us. You might need a little more help. Here are some trick’s I’ve picked up, and a few more my wife added!

Get Back to Basics

Since we’re on the topic of kids shows, let’s talk about getting back to the basics. That means those core values children learn in such shows:

  • Be yourself, no matter how odd/strange/different you are!
  • Stay positive no matter how hard things get!
  • Teamwork is supreme, always!
  • Be fearless because fear rarely helps a situation!
  • Be a good, kind, caring, sharing friend!

These core themes show up in every children’s program one way or another. That means we, as adults, make sure we have this under wraps.

Listen to Your Inner Popple

When in doubt, trust your moral compass. Or, as we call it around here, your “Inner Popple”.  

We all have that little voice inside us that tries to tell us right from wrong. Sometimes it’s a train of audible thoughts in your head, other times it’s that gnawing gut response telling you something is amiss.

That cue is there FOR A REASON. Ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. It’s not just about survival but protection of oneself. Do yourself a favor, listen next time, and reward your Popple’s good judgment.

Give Peer Pressure the Squeeze

Seriously, stop listening to other people. What happened to the days of scientific proof, verified resources, and common sense? (*cough* ...social media… *cough*)

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and feeling. As adults, it’s our responsibility to be aware of it, and know when to step back. Just because Joe Schmoe is going to jump of that there bridge, y’all going to do it to?

Fact Check Before You Freak Out

To me, this is a pretty obvious one, but it’s a step so many forget. When you are presented with information, especially the damaging or inflammatory kind, it’s wise to check your facts before you lose your cool.

As was the case with Bubbles and Sonny, fact checking can lead you to discover truths, motivations, falsehoods, and errors that you may have otherwise missed. Knowing all the facts before you handle a situation allows you to provide the very best solution. No brainer, right?

In summation... watch more kids shows

We are advocates. I mean, with all the bad floating around in the world, why not?

In all seriousness though, we all just need to put a little more focus on ourselves and being kind contributing members of society.

Blame, hatred, anger, spite, fear…. None of those things will help us advance as a society. So, let’s all just regress a little and enjoy our morals wrapped in bright colors. Go ahead and embrace your inner Popple, take the time to roll up your negatives and embrace change through self improvement.

Watch Popples on Netflix

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power-quarter-hour

How to Harness the Power of the Quarter Hour

Do you tend to run out of day before you run out of to-do list?

Are there tasks that keep getting moved forward to the next day's list....but they never get done?

Do large projects overwhelm or intimidate you?

Do you have a hard time maintaining focus on the tasks at hand?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have a fix for that. If you are like me and answered yes to everyone....I am about to be your hero of the day!

A super-effective way to help turn all those yes answers into no's is to harness the power of the quarter hour. Once you've tapped into its power, you'll not only be much more productive, but you will be less stressed too! Your self esteem goes up, as well because you are setting productivity goals and hitting them.

At one time I was raising five daughters home schooling, running my own business, managing our household (i.e. bills, housework, cooking etc)...and actually maintaining my sanity too, all at the same time!

How did I do it?

After an extended learning curve I'm surprised my family survived. I discovered some keys and applied them. Failure wasn't an option because nobody could replace me. I had to manage it, so I found ways. One of the keys found in learning to use 15-minute chunks of time.

Tapping into the power of the quarter hour is a simple two-step process anyone can do. Start applying them and you'll be on your way to feeling like a productivity superhero. So, let's not waste time and learn how.

Skyrocket your productivity 15 minutes at a time.

Why fifteen minutes? Because it is a size of bite you can handle. It's much like the saying about how you eat an elephant....one bite at a time.

Faced with an elephant to eat, the task may seem overwhelming, so you have no desire to do it. But, it must be done, so you break it down to one bite a time. Of course you can do one bite, so you do (ewwwww). Then you take another until it is done.

Now, let's apply that to some things that are a wee bit more pleasant than eating an elephant. Let's say you want to write a book. A lot of people have that idea on a back burner, but never get to it. I know of several, myself included. That big picture...a finished and edited, ready-to-sell book...is intimidating as can be. But not if you break it down into fifteen minute tasks.

  • How much can you outline in fifteen minutes?
  • What topic can you research in fifteen minutes?
  • Can you develop a thought in fifteen minutes?
  • How many quality words can you churn out in fifteen minutes?

Break the process of writing a book down into fifteen minute tasks. Then order them, check them off as they are done, moving on to the next. You're tackling it one bite at a time, and it is not the least bit stressful. Not only that, you are feeling a sense of accomplishment.....finally. The idea of writing a book no longer haunts you. You are doing it.

I used that same process when I was developing my cosmetics line.

On a back burner, as I was still selling antiques and books on eBay at the time. I knew what I wanted to do, but had one heck of a time finding time to do it, until I applied the power of the quarter hour.

I researched one cosmetic ingredient at a time. I researched formulas, one at a time. I played in the lab with formulas, one at a time. I did 75% of all the groundwork for the makeup company in fifteen minute hunks of time I set aside here and there.

Those are examples of how to use the power of the quarter hour to tackle big projects. But, what about smaller, day-to-day tasks? Break them down into fifteen minute tasks too.

That's particularly helpful if your day-to-day life tends to be full of interruptions. With all those children I had, interruptions were the norm. If I got interrupted during an hour long task, it'd mess me up, big time when I'd try to get back on track.

Working through lists of fifteen minute tasks, interruptions were not that big of a deal. I would either be at the beginning of the task, or close to the end. It reduced the impact interruptions had on my day down to nearly none.

quarter-power-meme

Use fifteen minute segments to destroy the small tasks.

These are the tasks that don't scream for attention, so you seldom get to them. The tyranny of the urgent keeps us from them. The power of the quarter hour can get them done.

It can also include tasks that require a few quarter hour time slots to complete. But that's okay. You are getting it done, one bite at a time. Some examples are:

  • Cleaning out the refrigerator
  • Washing windows
  • Catching up on mending
  • Decluttering the house
  • Reorganizing your office

I first started using the fifteen minute task lists after I gave birth to my first daughter. She had colic for her first six months. I'd managed of my responsibilities fine all through college. but having a colicky baby ground my productivity to a halt. I got a notebook and broke every duty I had down to fifteen minute hunks. It might have meant it took 4 fifteen-minute sessions in a day to get my kitchen clean, but it got it done. I wasn't stressing so badly either because I knew I had a plan of attack and was attacking it. Whew! It was a lifesaver.

I still use this method when feeling overwhelmed with a big task.  Those small tasks that usually nag me have their own list.

When I find myself with an extra fifteen minutes, I bite off another chunk.

Managing the 96 quarter-hour slots of time we get each day.

Why is that easier than trying to manage bigger blocks? Since I have everything broken down to fit into a fifteen minute time slots. I don't underestimate the amount of time it will take to get something done. as often as I do when working in larger chunks of time.

For example, let's say I have a blog post to write. I think it will take about two hours, from start to finish. Looking at that big time block saying “write blog post” is loose. What happens is it ends up taking an hour longer than I thought because I did not break it down into fifteen minute tasks to check off.

I might have played with the outline longer than I needed to. I spend a few more minutes extra on each section, a little dilly dallying along the way....because I do have two whole hours to complete it. Ultimately, it takes more like three because I was not tight on my plan.

When I break it down into 15 minutes each for outlining, the intro, each of three sections, a conclusion, and then a final edit. I can do each section in that fifteen minutes because I know I must. So, I do. The blog posts is done in the two hours.

If I get an interruption, it is easy to take in stride.  My entire household is more peaceful when I operate in quarter hour chunks of time.

Don't think you can break down everything you do into 15 minute slots?

Use the power of the quarter hour to start the process. Pick out an area you feel you need help in being more productive in. Break all the tasks you do down to items that can be completed in fifteen minutes. Start applying this method!  You will find you are working more efficiently and have extra quarter hours you can use each day.

I've recently gone back to implementing this in my own life. I was staying stressed, always behind and feeling like a failure because I was always behind. I won't accomplish much of anything for anybody if I am wallowing in defeat. I had to get control over my productivity. I've used this method on and off for over 30 years, so I came back to it. I am more peaceful, in control over my days, and yes, getting much more done each day.

Does that sound nice? You can do it too! Decide, right now, what trouble area you wish to work on. Make a commitment to breaking it down into fifteen minute tasks.

When you are done, I challenge you to comment your intention to improve in that area. Putting it out there like that keeps us more motivated to succeed so we save face. Then when you are knocking out the work like never before, come back and tell us all about it! Enjoy!

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redhot-customers-title-image

Do Red-Hot Customers Make You Want to Lose Your Cool?

Let’s face it, we’ve all had those customers that just push our buttons and makes us want to flip our lid. However, with the invention of social media, losing our cool in a public forum could lead to serious, business-killing consequences.  It’s now more important than ever to ensure that you keep your cool in the face of a customer meltdown. A well-managed customer complaint could turn them from angry to raving fan… and raving fans love to shout their joy.

I know managing these folks can be extra hard in-the-moment when your emotions run high, so I found it extremely helpful to write out a 6-step process that I have memorized. I can recite my steps in a pinch to help keep control of the situation.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to B.E.C.O.O.L:

  • B - Be Assertive
  • E - Extend Your Speech
  • C - Count Down Your Response
  • O - Offer a Break
  • O - Overstress the Positive
  • L - Lead with Power
customers-cool

Be Assertive

I’ll repeat, ASSERTIVE not aggressive or passive. Being assertive, in my mind, is to say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t be mean when you say it.

Let me give you an example. A customer says, “I want my money back, I don’t care if it’s past the return date.”

  • An aggressive response would be: “Yeah, and I want my time back, what are you going to do about it?”
  • A passive response would be: “Sure, I’ll talk to my manager about refusing you for absolutely no reason, would you like me to do that for you?”
  • The IDEAL (assertive) response should be: “I know it can be frustrating for you, however our policies are in place to protect all of our customers while also protecting our interests and inventory. I’ll provide you with the number to reach our head office should you wish to make a complaint. I can also recommend selling the product privately to recoup your costs.”

In the assertive example, you are standing your ground as your position requires while still providing options to the customer. They may not have achieved what they set out to, though you can feel confident you’ve offered every solution you could.

Let this rule guide your conversations with all customers and you will always be confident, cool, and in control AND you’ll always be professional.

Extend Your Speech

Slow and steady wins the race. You’ll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think and how much control and confidence you experience when you consciously slow down your rate of speech. Speak slowly and methodically when your emotional triggers are launched and you’ll maintain poise during difficult conversations.

Need an example? Check out this world champion speaker, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi as he captivates and controls his audience.

Watch Dananjaya Hettiarachchi Speak

Listen to how calm and collected he sounds, the even pace of his voice, and how he uses pauses to ensure he collects his thoughts and presents his points with ease and grace.

Speaking slower and in a lower volume has been proved to help de-escalate a customer. Want proof of this? I’m sure you’ve already seen it in action. When you are upset and yelling, when the person on the other end is calm and collected, how long can you keep yelling for? Without energies to feed off, rage will naturally subside.

Count Down Your Response

Yes, you are right, this absolutely ties into the above although it also needs to be mentioned on it’s own. It’s human nature to want to blurt out a response. This happens when we spend our time thinking up a response while the customer is still talking.

I used to do this A LOT. What I had to train myself to do is focus on listening. Once the customer finishes, I will use the silence to think, count down from 3 to 1, and once I’m done counting, I reply. It allows your brain a chance to process the information you were given and respond appropriately. It also helps the customer to identify that you were, in fact, listening.  

Don’t get frustrated if you don’t pick this up right away, it takes time. The important thing to do is ensure you are actively thinking through this process every time, until it becomes second nature.

Offer a Break

When you sense that your buttons have been pushed past the point of no return, it likely the customer is feeling the same way. It’s perfectly appropriate to offer a break at this point. Offer to review the situation and call them back, or ask if they could hold the line momentarily. You can tell the customer whatever reasoning sounds best at the time; The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so you can re-group.

Do not leave your customer hanging long. If you are offering a call back, make sure it’s the same day. If you need to reconvene a meeting, suggest the earliest possible commencement. This is intended as a break to calm minds and hearts, not to put the situation off.  

Overstress the Positive

There’s no way to avoid sounding like Dr. Phil on this one, aand I’m quite serious. Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t get paid enough to put up with this #$%&.” Say something more positive like “This guy really needs my help.”

Thinking more positively helps you respond more positively and professionally. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, and it spirals into a very negative situation.

I know that it sounds impossible in some situations however it could be paramount in maintaining a professional calm.

You might be thinking, “What if I don’t have anything positive to say?”

Well, then you might be in the wrong professional. Many customer service professionals do what they do to make a difference, improve lives and interactions. Sometimes just focusing on your own WHY rather than reasons to be upset can take the heat off.

Lead with Power

Often, a subtle suggestion of your “power” is far more effective than the outright use of your power. It’s a difficult concept to explain, so I’m going to use an example from early on in my working career.

At one point, I worked on customer service lines at a call center. If a customer was being outright abusive, we had the ability to advise them we would terminate the call.

You can say this more than one way, of course, and only the right way will prevent customer nuclear meltdowns.

You could say to your customer: “If you don’t stop yelling, I will terminate this call.”

Or you could say, “I want to help you, but when you yell and cut me off, you make it difficult for me to work with you.”

The latter statement demonstrates your power and your message will get across. The former statement uses up your ammunition and won’t usually diffuse an irate customer, though rather add fuel to the fire.

Another great way to lead with power is to remove the phrase “you have to” and replace it with “you will need to”. Why you ask? No one likes to be told what to do, and words like “have” implied you are giving an order. By using NEED instead, you are implying that it’s out of your control, a need exists and must be filled before a goal can be reached. Makes it easier for the customer to understand that you cannot take certain actions without saying no directly.

These incredibly simple tips will help you keep cool when customers’ tempers burn hot.

It takes practice, and no one is perfect, though I am completely confident that with a little practice, you too will be able to master and customer blowout!

And of course, we are always ready and willing to provide support.

Head over to our Facebook Group!

B2B Solution Swap - Where Peers Help Peers

Or shoot me a message!

Click here to email Sacha.

And, if this has left you feeling emotional, check out our recent blog!

How to Manage your Emotions in Three Simple Steps

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3-plugins-wp

3 Free WordPress Plugins for Emerging Entrepreneurs

It’s Friday, in July, when I should be out frolicking and enjoying the sun. Instead, I’m happily working away at websites and content, helping clients bring out their best.

Along my travels today, it struck me that I have yet to divulge some of my favorite things to use. As a designer and business owner, I feel it’s my duty to hit you up with my top three WordPress plugins and why I love them.

(The plugins listed below are available free, though most have an upgrade option. None of my endorsements are paid, I just really like these tools.)

Elementor Plugin

If you build WP sites, you may have heard of this already. Or, maybe you haven’t! Elementor is a plugin developer tool that you can use in conjunction with any theme to standardize your capabilities. It incorporates any inherent functions right in. Elementor includes many useful widgets; Include your favorite plugins and WordPress widgets automatically, and simply drag and drop them into the page. So, no coding required, just seamless integration.

That being said, it doesn’t prevent me from coding and getting technical when I need too. It’s also a favorite to hand off to clients when they intend to manage their own maintenance. (Reads; EASY TO LEARN!)

Free to use on any personal site, and licenses available for developers (which I have!), makes this a winner in my books.

Check it out here -> Elementor

YOAST Plugin

YOAST is a plugin that makes SEO user friendly. Truly!

I know what you are thinking, “how can YOAST really be easy to use when I don’t even understand SEO?”

(By the way, if this is you, hop over to our blog post on SEO; it’ll help clear a few things up! - CLICK HERE)

The whole point of this tool is to make it an easy, user-friendly experience to get your SEO game up to par. Offering features on each post, and as an overall component, to ensure no page is left untouched!

It also analyzes text and composition to make sure you’re text is easy to read, engaging, AND still gets picked up by the bots. Cool hey?

Check it out here -> YOAST

Sumo Plugin

While I have only recently jumped on this bandwagon it’s already clear to me why this tool is so popular!

In just a few days, I’ve doubled my traffic. #boom

Sumo is a plugin that enhances your social media experience, both for yourself and your visitors. You can choose what they see and where, to ensure you’re catching attention.

With amazing built in features like image and quote sharing, google and post analytics, and even list building options, it’s rapidly become a must-have for all of my clients.

Like the others, it’s free to use, but the pro features are ABSOLUTELY worth it. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did!

Check it out here -> SUMO

That's my 2 cents!

There you have it, my winning combination. Sure, I’m not limited to them, but everyone has favorites and these are mine.

Keep in mind folks, it's not always about the newest, best, most advanced tools, but the tools that work best within your preferred work style and see results. 

Are your tools getting you results? What are some of YOUR favorite tools? Let me know in the comments below!

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laugh-happy

How to Laugh Yourself Healthy and Happy

Destructive thoughts got you down? Download our FREE 16-Page Interactive PDF Workbook!
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD the "Sassy Solutions - How To Quickly Shift Destructive Thinking"
No doubt, we've all heard the phrase, “laughter is the best medicine”. So much so, that it has become cliché and lost much of its power. In actuality, regular bouts of laughter can have health benefits, as well as elevate your mood. Forcing yourself to laugh and play when you're feeling blue will improve your mood. (And it boosts health too!)
 
What we are going to do is first talk about the many exciting benefits of laughter. Then, we are going to explore ways to learn to cut loose and let laughter reign. When it is appropriate, of course. I have had to leave public places when I get the giggles and can't quit. What a fun problem to have! Let's learn how to have it and why!
 
Besides the fact laughing is fun and leaves us happier, laughter is a:

Stress Buster

Laughter relieves stress in several ways. First, you have the immediate release; It feels so good. I can imagine waves of stress flying out of my mouth with my laughter and rolling down my cheeks with my tears. Laughing until you are crying and your sides hurt feels great. We can't deny that.
 
That laughter triggers more than sounds, tears, and an occasional bladder leak. It dumps all sorts of good hormones into your system instead of the nasty stress induced hormones. Stress causes levels of cortisol and adrenaline to go up. (Generally, not needed in day-to-day life and too much is not a good thing). Laughter, on the other hand, decreases levels of those bad boys.
 
But, it gets better than that! Instead, laughing triggers the release of hormones like endorphins and dopamine. They are the good guys when it comes to living a happy little life, so more is good. They are often called “the feel good hormones” for a reason.

Pain Reliever

It is no big secret that addiction to painkillers is a serious issue in America. I took them for years. Doctors give them to you like candy, then take them away and tell you to find ways to manage. Unless you are smart enough to find a way off of them before the choice forced upon you; That is a very bad place to be.
 
Bodies break, get old, and hurt; Pain is real. There are plenty of natural ways to help manage pain, and laughter is actually one of them. How cool is that?
 
Laughter triggers your body's the release of these marvelous little compounds; Endorphins. Besides being a feel happy hormone, they help kill pain. They actually fit into the same receptors as opiates. Hmmmm.
 
Now, which is a better choice?
 
Take toxic, chemical crap that leaves you addicted and needing more, all-the-while trashing your other body systems....
 
Or, you can laugh often, laugh long, and laugh hard. For free. Think about it and enjoy!

Boosts Your Immune System

There are many health benefits from the biochemical changes laughing causes. One of the most exciting is how it boosts your own immune system to handle most jobs fine all on its own. It is a wonderful thing to escape coming down with the bugs and cruds everyone else is catching. A strong immune system will do that for you.
 
Laughter increases the production of the infection fighting cells while helping to build general health. Laughing decreases blood pressure, increases blood flow and oxygenation, and even burns calories. You can burn off a cookie by laughing for 10-15 minutes. True story!

Relationship Builder

Laughter will help you build stronger and more meaningful relationships. When we laugh with others, for that moment, all the trappings drop and we are who we are, without pretense. We are bonding on that primal level, over something that makes us feel amazing. That is a strong bond, though we may not realize it. Your heart knows it though because you love being around those people.
 
"The couple that laughs together, stays together." It doesn't rhyme, but that's okay because it's the grooviest thing ever. I can't help but to fall in love with any person who makes me laugh to begin with. When it comes to romance, it is definitely in the top ten of basic requirements for a happy relationship. There are few things sweeter than laughing hysterically with your sweetheart over something totally ridiculous. Then later, when you recall it, you laugh all over again. That's romantic, and very special, because it is real.

Here are some of my best tips for learning to laugh!

I am hoping, by now, you are very ready to launch into a lesson on learning to cut loose and enjoy the gift of laughter. Anyone who knows me can tell you, if anyone knows how to laugh, I do. I do believe I have it down to a fine art, so listen up.
Watch Funnies on YouTube.

My habit of doing this is partly responsible for saving my sanity during the years; I was trapped in domestic abuse. I'd sit and watch bloopers til I cried. It helped. Some of my favorites for bloopers are Big Bang Theory, Carol Burnett, and Friends.

Play Laughing Games
Yes, there is such a thing. My favorite is for three or more people. You lay on your backs on the floor, each laying their head on the others' tummy. It makes a ring of people. Then you all lay very still and focus on trying not to laugh. Of course, somebody busts loose. It is not long before you have a chain reaction and you are all rolling around in the floor laughing out loud. I dare you to try it, no matter what your age.
 
A second laughing game can be played with two people, but the more, the merrier. It is the same principle, only tamer. You face each other and the goal is to make the other person laugh - without laughing yourself and you cannot talk! I don't think I need to tell you how crazy and hilarious that can be!
Play Traditional Games

While it might be a stretch to imagine a chess match ending in you rolling around laughing hysterically, most board and card games do create plenty of opportunities for laughter. It largely depends on who you are with.

Surround Yourself With Folks Who Laugh

Unless you have ever been in a position where you're stuck where nobody laughs and laughter itself is banned, you might not realize how much of an impact this one thing can have on your happiness level.Unless you have ever been in a position where you're stuck where nobody laughs and laughter itself is banned, you might not realize how much of an impact this one thing can have on your happiness level.

It makes perfect sense though. If you want to be happier and laugh more, hanging out with those who bring it out in you is important. It also forms meaningful bonds, something we have already discussed. So, get healthy, get happy, hang out with interesting people who laugh. They are good for you body and soul.

Enjoy Funny Thoughts

This is one technique for stimulating laughter that can be done all alone, no tools or equipment required. Believe it or not, I can laugh myself to tears this way. Here are a few examples:

Try imagining your partner, best friend, etc in costumes totally contrary to their nature. I imagine my rough, tough manly man in a tutu, or an elf outfit, or dressed up as a butterfly or ladybug....and I can't contain myself.

Imagine a scene in a movie....an action-packed movie is fun; the type that are clearly theatrical exaggeration because real people and machines can't do those things. Now, unless it would be violent, gross, and disgusting ( because that is SO not funny!)....imagine what would happen, road-runner-cartoon-style, if it was in real life.

Imagine the hero tripping instead of saving the day. Imagine if when he goes in for the romantic kiss, one of them burps. Are you getting the idea? Run with it and enjoy!

Let Your Inner Child Play
I don't care how many years this earth has been enjoying you, if you quit playing like a child, you are missing out on something special. I am a grandmother many times over, with a full head of silver, and I still skip across parking lots, ride shopping carts, swing in public, stomp in puddles, and generally enjoy my own silliness every chance I get.
 
Yes, sometimes people stare at me. People make fun of me and some even criticize me for it. But, gee, I am happy, and they are generally the ones walking around looking like their world will end at any moment. So, you tell me who is being silly. I dare you to try it. If public silliness is too much for you to handle, do it in the privacy of your own home and see how good it feels.
Well, I hope by now you are primed and ready to consciously make laughter a part of your life. If you give it just a little room, it will grow, and you will find yourself laughing easier, and more often. It will help redeem your health, your sanity, and your soul will likely be thrilled too!
 
I'd love to hear your favorite funny tale, or which movie you can't resist laughing through.
 
How do YOU inspire yourself to laughter? Tell us in the comments below!
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