For many of us, the upcoming holidays can be an emotional perfect storm, a time when keen anticipation mixes with profound dread.
The best thing about the festive season — seeing family — and the worst thing about the festive season — seeing family — can combine to produce lingering regrets for both feelings suppressed, and thoughts unexpressed.
What of the brother-in-law who sneers at family tradition? The drunken uncle who picks a fight at the slightest provocation?
Do you keep silent to keep peace? Do your good manners make it possible for their bad behavior to hold sway?
This year, give yourself permission to say what’s on your mind. You may not change their conduct but chances are you will feel happier having confronted the family bully.
More important, you will banish the kind of regret that can come back to haunt us.
Bronnie Ware is a palliative care nurse charged with the care of the actively dying. A recent article in The Daily Mail focused on her assessment of the top five regrets most people express on their deathbeds. Based on Ware’s experiences, here are five ways to live without regret and change the way you live now:
1. Be true to yourself
Always wanted a St. Bernard? Get one. Nurse a desire to chuck your office job and become a yoga instructor? Do it. Don’t allow the opinions and prejudices of those around you to prevent you from following your dreams. Be brave.
Do not make work the most important thing in your life. Men, especially, almost universally lament the time they didn’t spend with their wives and their children. Get off the treadmill and enjoy your free time — life doesn’t need to be a grind.
3. Express yourself
Say what you think in the moment. Don’t be browbeaten into silence — a life half-lived.
4. Nurture personal relationships
Make time for the people who matter. Social media has made it easier to contact old friends and stay in touch with them. Friends are the greatest gift you give yourself.
5. Opt for happiness
Have fun. Laugh. Play. Be silly. Whistle. Dance. Happiness, like misery, can be a habit. Accustomed to being glum? Change your habit.
How do you avoid holiday stress? Share in the comments section below.