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7 Things Only People Who’ve Lived In A Small Town Can Relate To

7 Things Only People Who’ve Lived In A Small Town Can Relate To

When I enrolled in Spelman College in Atlanta for a pre-college summer program, I asked my roommate where she grew up. Her answer was Houston, Texas. I asked her what her parents did for a living and she said her dad was an astronaut. Imagine how I, a country girl from rural Alabama, felt. Since peanut and cotton farming were two of the biggest occupations in the region, I was shocked to room with a person whose dad was a Commander for NASA’s Hubble Space Mission.

Although the limitations of growing up in a small town (especially pre-Internet) are numerous, the benefits still abound. Nothing beats the quaint small-town life and the lasting memories that remind its residents of simpler times. Whether you grew up in a small town or are thinking of moving to one, you are in for a special treat. Join me on a nostalgic journey of small-town life as you read about these 7 things that only small-town people can relate to.

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1. You graduate high school with the same people who were in your kindergarten class.

Many of the schools in a small town feed into a single high school. If a town is small enough, the same cohort of students might start and finish elementary, middle, and high school together. This gives kids the opportunity to create strong bonds with other kids during every stage of their childhood development. Be prepared, however, for messy breakups, ever-changing friendships, and rampant small-town rumors. After all, you have to infuse excitement into the small-town way of life somehow!

2. You join the high school marching band when you’re in the 7th grade.

Resources are common concerns in small towns. Although the marching band is one example, you will find that students in small towns have opportunities to engage in many activities earlier than kids in larger cities. Are you missing a bass drummer for the high school band? Do you need a fourth member for the track team’s relay team? Recruit from the middle school. Kids in small towns grow up fast — not in a negative way, but because bodies are needed to execute activities. By graduation, students can be politicians, musicians, athletes, or public speakers, and all of these experiences will prepare them for almost everything.

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3. You lack accessibility to resources past 10 pm.

Small-town residents prepare themselves to do everything outside of their homes before 10 in the evening. Most local small-town businesses operate during 9-to-5 hours, so local residents have to know exactly what they need to accomplish during those hours. A bright aspect of this is that the one fast food restaurant and convenience store are always open for business to satisfy your late-night french fry and beef jerky cravings.

4. You can’t do anything wrong because people know your parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles — even your dog.

People in small towns learn to live squeaky clean lives because they know that any negative things they do will be the subject of conversation among all the local community groups. Engaging in bad behaviors extends beyond an alleged perpetrator, because the relatives of this person are affected immediately by the accusation. Small-town life teaches one how to be discreet, how to filter information, and how to develop a thick skin — since there is no way to escape the glaring eyes and opinions of members of the local community.

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5. You can take care of your professional business at local sporting events.

Small-town life centers around sporting events. The heart of many communities involves supporting local talent as students offer the best, cheapest, and sometimes the only entertainment that a small town has to offer. At a game, you can see your banker, your beautician, and the high school principal. Where else could you learn about current loan interest rates, receive updates about your child’s academic progress, and cheer for your favorite sports team?

6. You don’t worry about rush-hour traffic.

Leave work at 5 pm and you will be at home at 5:10 pm. You have time to exercise, prep dinner, and read a book before the local news come on. If you think that this quick small-town commute sounds boring, think again! The time that you save not driving will add much to your overall quality of life and to your relationships with friends and family.

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7. You don’t need the local newspaper to get the news.

Those of us who grew up in small towns know that before social media and the internet, small town criers provided people with current events and gossip before it became official. To this day, if someone in a small town dies overnight, the word is out via telephone or text before daybreak. Another small-town benefit is knowing the behind-the-scenes details about everything that is reported cryptically by the media. Anonymous small-town sources will always be the original TMZ.

In the end, although there are numerous benefits of big-city life and access to diverse resources, small-town life definitely has its perks.

Featured photo credit: Girl with Flowers/Alexander Shustov via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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