Happiness and Quality of Life: How to Live a Regret-Free Life

Happiness and Quality of Life: How to Live a
Regret-Free Life

By Debbie Lyn Toomey
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What does a well-lived life mean to you?

Is it a life that gives you freedom to be yourself and express yourself?

Is it a life that is filled with meaningful moments from having a balanced life?

Is it a life that is surrounded by family and friends?

No matter what your answer is, I’m sure that your version of a well-lived life is not filled with sorrow or regrets. While it’s not easy to live a life with no regrets, there are ways to lessen them so that you can live a quality life. As a nurse of over 25 years in a major hospital in Boston, I’ve taken care of my share of terminally ill patients. Patients who were given months, weeks, or sometimes days to live from disease or complications from their underlying issues.

Patients

From time-to-time, I witnessed patients who were fortunate enough to be surrounded by people they loved. Loved ones who took turns making sure that they were never alone. Then there were other end-of-life patients who laid quietly on their hospital beds with no family or friends visiting them. Their last moments on this earth were spent with strangers who took care of them shift to shift. I often wondered what went through their minds. As they laid on their last bed not knowing what ever happened to their loved ones and probably wondering when did their series of unfortunate events began. Did these dying patients have regrets? If so, what were they?

Regrets

Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse wrote a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. In the book, she wrote about the most common regrets of the dying. Based on her findings the core issues with the dying had to do with the lack of courage to be who they were, to express themselves in front of others, too much time spent on career and not enough time spent connecting with friends and nurturing their own happiness.

Happiness Soothes

I have discovered personally and professionally that happiness skills can help us become the best version of ourselves. There are many practices in the field of Positive Psychology, the science of happiness and optimum human performance, that boost courage, increase mindful work-life balance, and enhance connection with those who (and what) matters most in life. In fact, purposely applying simple happiness skills can soothe negative feelings into positive ones.

Regret-Free

In my book, The Happiness Result, More time, More health, More love, More success, I covered seven A.W.E.S.O.M.E.™ (Authenticity, Wonderment, Empowerment, Self-Compassion, Optimism, Mindfulness, & Enjoyment) pillars to create an awesome and well-lived life. To get you started on your journey to a wonderful life there are some practices you can begin to gain the quality of life that you deserve. Adding these simple exercises into your life can make your life regret-free.

They are:

  • Courage Boosters: Take Risks. Do something new thing every week. This can be big or small. Doing this will exercise your courage muscles and add more excitement into your life. Look at your bucket list of “What I want to do” and get started. Start with something small then build into bigger ones. The more you do this the bolder you will be in all areas of your life. Just as negative emotions impact your life, so do positive ones. The more positive experiences you have the happier your life will be overall.
  • Mindful Work-Life: Use happiness as your balancing scale. Notice when stress is building up and use relaxation techniques to help you feel better. Take deep breaths when unexpected challenges “knock the wind” out of you. While work-life balance is never a 50-50 equation, be mindful of what is tipping your scales. Honor your happiness and use it to measure what is most important to you. Doing this will offer you healthier choices to add more happiness to your day.
  • Connection Enhancers: Initiate connection with friends. Don’t wait to hear for them to ask you to connect. A nice thing to do is invite a friend to do a week long (or longer) happiness practice with you. Doing this fun practice will ensure that you both connect. Start by sending each other a daily text message that says “breathe” or “smile”. Notice how these simple reminders help you build a stronger relationship with your friend and make your day so much brighter.

Quality of Life

While there are so many scientifically proven self-help techniques available to us, they will not work unless we decide to commit to practicing them. A happy and meaningful life starts from within. It is our life’s work to live the best way we can with the “cards that we were dealt.”  Life is not perfect but we can have micro-moments of perfection by taking simple actions that add more love, laughs, and meaning to life.

Mantras to Live By

Here are helpful mantras to live by. Pick one or more to help you create a regret-free life.

“I am free to be me.”

“I am safe to speak from the heart.”

“Happiness adds quality in all areas of my life.”

“I have fun with my friends.”

“I deserve to be happy.”

 

More Results

Learn more ways to cultivate a happy and regret-free life and get The Happiness Result, More time, More health, More love, More success.   

Great news! Coming at the beginning of December 2016 is The Happiness Result’s companion journal that will help you manifesting your goals by helping you stay focused and motivated. It’s called, The Happiness Result, Goals, Gratitude, and Success Journal. Both books will help you gain the happiness result you are looking for.

Please share this article with family or friends who can benefit from it.

Source: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

 

Forgiveness is…

This week I had the pleasure of teaching about forgiveness in my mindfulness class with 5th and 6th graders. I was amazed at how well they understood the concept of forgiveness and the way they approached hurtful incidences. While some said they cried and talked about it, others used sheer determination to prove the other person wrong, and the rest confronted the others and stood up for themselves. The common thread that I noticed in the 3 approaches was the courageous and self-compassionate choices that were taken to let go of their pain.

Let’s Learn from the Kids

Whether through tears or talking, the kids naturally had a way of taking action to feel better.  We can learn so much from them. We adults tend to have such a difficult time at forgiveness that it’s costing us our mental and physical health.  According to the 2011 study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who hold on to hard feelings have been shown to live a shorter life compared with those who make the choice to forgive. As a stubborn and proud person, I know that I am not perfect and can hold on to a hurt feeling like there’s no tomorrow. What I’ve came to realize, though, was that I was the one suffering and not the other way around. I was the one losing sleep, waking up with bags under my eyes, feeling cranky, and being miserable all day. It was I who was using this pain as an excuse to sabotage my diet or to use this ugly state to pick on the little things that I would normally tolerate. Practicing self-compassion has helped me tremendously. It’s helped me heal old wounds and made me healthier and happier.


Permission to be Human

As mentioned in previous newsletters I am certified in Positive Psychology, the science of happiness. One of the greatest techniques that I learned while studying this amazing field is self-compassion. Self-compassion has a way of helping us feel the pain while also giving ourselves a break. Self-compassion doesn’t mean that we are weak and the other is strong. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel any pain—it’s quite the opposite. Self-compassion is all about awareness, forgiveness, and self-love. It gives us the time to make the best choice that will make us feel better. It also reminds us that we have the choice to take the control back into our lives by letting go of what no longer serves us.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the Best Call to Make

While forgiveness may not be the easiest thing for many of us to do, it is important to remember that it can possibly be one of the best acts of kindness and love that you can do for yourself. In other words, forgiveness is a choice that can set you free — it is the best call that you will make to become healthier and happier. Nobody can do this work for you. This is something that you and you alone must do to become happy.

Healthy Dose of Forgiveness

Just think about how much brighter and beautiful our world would be if people took a healthy dose of forgiveness daily. I bet that if people were to commit to a daily practice of forgiveness many pharmaceutical companies would be put out of business and doctors’ visits would go down drastically. Basically, forgiveness can put more money into your pocket and add more years to your life. Still not convinced? Here are some facts about people who tend to hold on to grudges. They tend to have higher:

  • Blood pressure
  • Facial muscle tension
  • Heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Loss of control
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

The Call is Yours

In a nutshell, the call is yours to make when it when it comes to forgiveness. Hopefully, I’ve shown you that holding onto grudges is detrimental to your health. Let’s start learning from the kids and not hold onto the grudges so that we can feel better right away.


Try this!

Next time you feel this frustrating feeling come on, try the following:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Allow yourself to feel the hurt
  4. Notice what your body is doing
  5. Say to yourself, “Permission to be human.”
  6. Repeat 1-5 until you feel better.

Remember to love yourself enough to make this courageous and self-compassionate choice.

Need help?

If you need coaching to help you with forgiveness and self-compassion, contact me at info@healthandhappinessspecialist.com so we can work together to get you to your winning state of mind.