What regrets will you have when your “number is up”?
This awareness crossed our minds, a few years back, before Feel Good Buzz was launched. It made us start living our lives differently, so we’d have fewer regrets before it was too late to do anything about them at the end of our lives.
Living and thinking this way has been very freeing; it’s made us bolder, braver and more joyful! This “living without regrets” concept is a big part of why we’re so into sharing our love of optimal, natural health with you all! Here’s a great quote that sums it up . . .
“Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
We’ve noticed that as we’ve grown older at Feel Good Buzz, with experience, our worries have lessened. (Although our struggles haven’t necessarily decreased, our concerns about whether or not everything will turn out all right certainly have!). For us, this decrease in worry and increase in mental confidence and emotional stability has led to an even stronger desire and commitment to see exactly how strong, healthy and energetic our bodies can be to keep up with all of the opportunities surrounding us. And that is our desire for you as well- to have the kind of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health that enables you to live an inspired life with us!
We hope that this article inspires you as much as it inspires us! . . .
Here are the “Top Five Regrets of the Dying” as recorded by a palliative nurse:
(What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?)
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. “This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. “Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Resilience is being able to find balance after hitting a pot hole. It is waking up with hope after enduring a series of frustrations. It is looking beyond the circumstances of life in order to enjoy the moment.
Who would you rather have as your partner, best friend, family member, etc.: the erratic, controlling, moody person who freaks out at the first sign of stress or the happier, resilient person who has the emotional control and insight to be able to respond wisely and appropriately in stressful situations?
When we meet people with incredible resilience, sometimes we think they were gifted with this trait at birth. We might say that the resilient person’s amazing attitude could only have been achieved by having the good fortune to be blessed with great role models and lots of resources. Or, some of us might even think that resilient people are really just nutty “Pollyanna” types who are really good at denying “reality” in order to be able to smile, laugh and enjoy life in spite of their adversity.
The truth is, resilience can be learned!
(At Feel Good Buzz, we know it’s possible to become more resilient, because we learned it ourselves, in spite of growing up with a lack of positive, resilient role models and having plenty of challenges, including a lack of resources!)
But how do you become resilient, when you think your life sucks, (and maybe, parts of it actually do), you are unhappy, or you are not where you think you should be at this stage in your life?
Here’s a great little Zen-Buddhism story to illustrate our point, called “Maybe”:
Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
“Maybe,” answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
“Maybe,” said the farmer.
What does this Zen story mean to you?:
- To us, it means that we have very little control over circumstances, but we do have a lot of control over our attitudes and our responses to situations.
- Was the farmer just lucky, or did he make his own luck by having the right mindset?
- It seems that the farmer was wise enough to know that everything, good or bad, would all balance out. (He was probably pretty good at carpe diem or enjoying living in the moment too.)
So how can you be more like the farmer in the Zen story (without having to move to Tibet)?:
- How can you become more relaxed and able to “go with the flow”, even when things appear not to be going the way you want them to go?
- How can you become a more patient, resourceful, resilient, joyful person with a rock solid positive attitude that people (even you) want to be around?
Stay tuned for Part II of cultivating more resilience tips in our next Feel Good Buzz blog post.
We could all use a good therapist now and then. Unfortunately, therapy costs can be prohibitive for many people. Luckily, there are books like “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it’s all small stuff” by Richard Carlson, PH.D.
According to Carlson, in this book, he shares “very specific strategies– things you can start doing today– that will help you respond to life more gracefully. The strategies you are going to read about are the ones that have proven themselves to be the most successful by clients and readers of mine over the years. They also represent the way I like to approach my own life: the path of least resistance. Each strategy is simple, yet powerful, and will act as a navigational guide to point you in the direction of greater perspective and more relaxed living. You’ll find that many of the strategies will apply not only to isolated events but to many of life’s most difficult challenges.
When you “don’t sweat the small stuff,” your life won’t be perfect, but you will learn to accept what life has to offer with far less resistance. As we learn in the Zen philosophy, when you learn to “let go” of problems instead of resisting with all your might, your life will begin to flow. You will, as the serenity prayer suggests, ‘Change the things that can be changed, accept those that cannot, and have the wisdom to know the difference.’ I’m confident that if you give these strategies a try, you will learn the two rules of harmony. #1) Don’t sweat the small stuff, and #2) It’s all small stuff. As you incorporate these ideas into your life you will begin to create a more peaceful and loving you.”
Here are some of the topics in Carlson’s book:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Make peace with imperfection
- Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be superachievers
- Be aware of the snowball effect of your thinking
- Develop your compassion
- Remind yourself that when you die, your “in basket” won’t be empty
- Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences
- Do something nice for someone else– and don’t tell anyone about it
- Let others have the glory
- Lower your tolerance to stress
- Seek first to understand
- See the innocence
- Understand the statement, “Wherever you go, there you are”
- Lighten up
- Cut yourself some slack
- Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary
If you really want to get something big out of this book and become a more relaxed, gentle, fun person, we suggest making a book group out of it! (For tips on starting a book group, contact us at Feel Good Buzz: firstname.lastname@example.org)