Top Five Regrets of the Dying

imagesI read a really good article yesterday, written by Josh Becker, the inspiring author and blogger. He writes and lives a minimalist lifestyle.
I read his blog almost everyday, and come away with some enlightening or interesting piece of new information.

Yesterday, here’s what I walked away with. Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse spent several years caring for patients during the last 12 weeks of their lives, routinely asked her patients about “any regrets they had or anything they would do differently.”

In her book about the experience, she identified “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” They are:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so much.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I though about these five and what struck me the most out of the five was number five “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

It’s not that I’m not happy, cause I am for the most part. But there are times when I’m stressed out and that needlessly takes up my happiness. The seconds of my life are ticking away, and I’m worried about something I think is consequential at the time that really isn’t. This is a normal reaction to the stress of modern life.

But the thought that I could be having more fun and less stress, whether that stress is caused internally or externally is getting in the way. As the seconds tick away, I think “stop this crappy thinking and turn it around to something more positive.” Can I step outside and smell the air and look at the sky? That does wonders to change my thinking and refresh my brain. Especially if I can take a walk for a short or long while. Especially if that walk includes my dog Louie Lyman. He always makes me smile.

Does this technique always work? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the more I keep the positive mantra of “have more fun and let go of the useless, negative thoughts going around in my brain, the chances are better that I’ll be able to “let myself be happier.”