This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”   Psalm 118:24

The New Year begins with the suggestion that we make an effort to be better prepared for what we face when “LIFE HAPPENS”.  The Wellness Ministry would like to take the next few months to prompt each of us to think about preparing for the happenings of life.  By being better prepared, we may avoid guilt, stress, regret, and subsequent illness as we journey on.   We will look at the following issues:

Jan:  How to think ahead for the unexpected     Feb:  How to prepare for ER or Hospitalizations    March:  How not to be blindsided by LOSS     April:  When is it time to make a change & How to do it.

PLANNING FOR THE UNEXPECTED:   A recent article in the “Huffington Post” , originally from “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A life transformed by the Dearly Departing”,  is written by an experienced Palliative Care Nurse who states that no matter what stage of life we are in there is no need for regret.  By addressing the following five common regrets,  we may find ourselves not up against the unexpected and facing what is handed to us with a more positive outlook and less stress and DISTRESS.

1.  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.    Regret provides only suffering and sadness, taking up positive energy and precious time.  Adjusting our choices and being at peace with the past and remembering that each new moment is a new choice, gives us more positive direction.  Health brings a freedom few realize.  Working toward a healthy lifestyle helps us choose to realize more of our dreams and lean on God’s guidance to be true to ourselves.

2,  I wish I had not worked so hard.   This was heard most often from men,  but more and more is the norm for most adults.  Work to increase income that only creates a more complex lifestyle equals regret.  Choosing to balance work with family, friends, and healthy endeavors pays dividends.  Simplifying lifestyle and making conscious choices to create spaces for our priorities brings us to a more expected happy outcome.  “Life is short,  eat dessert first”!!

3, I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.    “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others”.   Suppressed feelings can lead to stress, bitterness, resentment, and illness. Choosing to express ourselves, with kindness and clarity, as well as listening to others is truly courageous.

4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends:  We move, we change jobs, we get busy, we let life get in the way of the golden friendships that frame our lives.  Make a priority of making a phone call, writing a note, texting a message, jot an e-mail.  Put time on your calendar for these communications and when you have a ‘nudge’, act on it.  Write a Valentine letter & a July 4th Letter as well as the annual Christmas note.   “Make new friends & keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold”.

5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier. Happiness is a choice.  Sticking in old habits, patterns, and comfort zones, effects our emotions and even physical lives.  Laugh more, have stillness in your life, and, don’t let fear of change lessen all that life can be.  Break loose and BE HAPPY.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,Parish Nurse

Dr.  ‘Rick’ Brothers,  Parish Physician

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