"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
February 25, 2015
Hack Your Life
by Amy L. Stevenson

You can find a hack for just about anything these days. The term “hack” in this instance is used to describe taking something that already exists for one purpose and either improving it or finding another use for it. It’s basically rethinking the way you use the common things around you.

Over the past several years these ideas have been dubbed “life hacks” because they make life better. Their popularity has increased so much that you can take just about any object, google it with the word “hack,” and find an easy way to turn it into something else.

A pool noodle: There’s a hack for that. http://www.parentdish.ca/2014/02/18/best-life-hacks-parents-pool-noodles/

An empty deodorant container: There’s a hack for that. http://de-tout-et-de-rien-caroline.blogspot.ca/2014/02/mess-free-sidewalk-chalk-recipe-recette.html?m=1

An IKEA dresser: There are hundreds of hacks for that. https://www.pinterest.com/tinab158/the-infamous-ikea-rast-hacks/

If you can hack (rethink) the way you use simple objects to make life better, then you can also rework who you are by hacking what you do. Instead of using life hacks on things, you can hack meaning into your life.

Hack what you listen to. Music can bring a wide range of thoughts and emotions into a person’s mind and body. Hack your music library to bring positive messages into your life.

Have you paid attention to the lyrics of the songs in your playlist? How about the songs on your kids’ playlists? Finding the lyrics to songs online is easy and you may be surprised at how some of the upbeat songs you thought were fun, are actually kind of depressing. The reverse can also be true, so listen to the beat and melody and hack those that are not uplifting.

Hack your food. What you eat affects your health. Do you eat a wide variety of foods and drink plenty of water? Are you aware of what triggers you to eat? Do you eat only when you are hungry or at other times as well? Are there foods you should stop buying so you will eat more healthy ones? You don’t need to be obsessed with organic food, cut out desserts, or read every label. Just find a nice balance.

Hack your habits. Think about your everyday routines. Are you getting enough sleep or staying up too late? Do you keep yourself and your surroundings clean? Is there anything that you need to keep functioning? Has it become an addiction? Are you aware of how you spend your money?

Do those around you consider you an optimist or pessimist? You can improve your relationships with others by evaluating and improving your behavior.

Hack what you look at. Everything you look at determines what you will think about. Are you reading thoughtful, imaginative, spiritual, or well-informed writing? How do the images you see on your screens make you feel? Do they invite peace or discontent to your soul?

Do the shows and movies you are watching bring a good spirit? Are the games you play improving your mind? Your thoughts control what you say and do, so watch for things that reinforce who you want to be.

Hack the way you spend your time. What you do is the best indicator of who you really are. Do you exercise your mind and body? Have you found a hobby or activity that you find rewarding? Is there a time you allow yourself to relax?

Do you go to spiritual places like the church and temple? When do you pray and read scriptures? How do you keep in touch with friends and family? Schedule something you want to enjoy doing more often on your calendar so you will be sure to do it.

If what you want is a happier life: There’s a hack for that.


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About Amy L. Stevenson

Amy Stevenson grew up in central California but ventured to Utah to receive a bachelor's degree in human development from Brigham Young University. She has been using her degree every day since then as a stay-at-home-mom to her son and three daughters.

She believes that parenting is more than telling children, "Be good!" It is about surrounding ourselves with good things, and then acting in a way that reflects the good we have found. She has always enjoyed discovering how people become who they are and has a blog where she shares clean, good, uplifting ideas and resources for children and families in hopes of helping them become their best selves.

Along with her husband and children she has lived in nine different cities in three states, which has taught her that people are good everywhere and there is something to learn from every experience. She and her family now live in Simi Valley, California -- and hope to stay there.

Amy serves as a ward missionary and teaches the gospel principles class.

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