The fifth most common regret expressed by people on their deathbed is that they didn’t realize until it was too late that happiness is a choice we can all make, not a product of circumstance.
The first four most common regrets that the dying express are that they: 1) Didn’t live a life that was true to themselves. 2) That they wished they hadn’t worked so hard. 3) That they’d expressed their feelings more often, and 4) That they wished they’d been more social and kept in touch with good friends.
Follow a few or all of the tips detailed below and you might just be one of a select few who can honestly say they did it their way and lived their life to the fullest, without any regrets.
Stay in touch with the kid inside you
Telling most adults that they act or think like a child is akin to a slap in the face for most. However, people who embrace their inner child are much happier than those who walk about with a sour disposition and take everything seriously. You don’t have to spend all day thinking about how you’ll pay the bills next month or the current state of our government.
Exercise releases happy hormones into our body and makes our entire body healthier. We all know this, but quickly allow life and/or simple laziness get in the way of what’s good for us. Find a way to exercise while having fun and you kill two birds with one stone. Sports of all kinds, rock climbing, dancing, martial arts training, yoga, skating, dragon-boating, and many other team activities offer the opportunity to socialize, compete, and get a heart pumping workout all at once!
If living life to the fullest involves a “here today, gone tomorrow” mantra in your case, eat whatever the heck you want. “You only live once” right? If you want to live a long life, getting around on your own two feet with minimal health problems, it’s important to eat plenty of veggies that are low in calories and high in life-giving vitamins and minerals. Eat lean cuts of meats, and avoid sugar like your life depends on it!
Do work that inspires
This is different for everybody. Some people simply do a job because they want to make money to they can buy and do the things that make them feel good in their downtime. That’s fine if it makes you happy. However, many people simply work to pay the bills and contribute to Uncle Sam’s tax fund. Most are generally unhappy, uninspired, and wishing that a door to a better life might someday magically appear in front of them.
Don’t wait for that door, it rarely appears. Find work that makes you feel good, if you’re not happy with your current job even if it doesn’t pay as well as the J.O.B. that makes you miserable. Don’t be someone who goes to work just to count the hours until you’re done!
Make people feel good
Making people feel good about themselves has the same effect on our body as someone giving us a compliment. The trouble is that bitterness sets in at some point, we lose touch and become numb to the idea of giving being more important than receiving.
Even if you have to fake it at first, make it important to identify positive qualities you see in others and to point it out to them. Some people will reject your kindness, but do it anyway. Emotionally hardened folks enjoy compliments as much as the rest of us, they just don’t show it very well.
Be more optimistic
Be optimistic about the positive and negative things that happen in your life. Be optimistic that just because an expensive repair to your car emptied your bank account this month, that in the months to come something will happen that offers savings above and beyond that unexpected expense.
Nearly all who realize success and happiness in life are optimists. If you think something bad will always happen to you, you’ll always be looking for the negatives that surround you. You’ll find what you’re looking for!
Fall in love
People in love are truly happy, even though it can be hard to tell from one couple to the next. Still, if you’re in love and the other person shares your feelings, there’re few things in the world that give you a better reason to wake up in the morning and go out in the world full of zest for life. Falling in love helps to balance the good and bad hormones in our body, helps us to set bigger goals, and most importantly – to give of ourselves more!
Get a pet
Pets like dogs and cats will be loyal to the very end, giving you lots of happy kisses and plenty of romp-roaring laughter every day. Having a creature who looks forward to seeing you walk through the door and who depends on you for food and exercise is no different from falling in love with that special someone or having children. It’s no replacement mind you, but there are thousands of pet-loving singles out there who’d probably disagree!
Listen to more music
Music helps us to relax, to get inspired, and to focus better, depending on what you’re listening to. Don’t make music a guilty pleasure that you only do in the privacy of your home or car. Get an iPod or Mp3 player and bring out the tunes whenever you need to change your mood and get out of a funk.
Read a book instead of watching television
Television isn’t nicknamed the “Boob Tube” for no good reason. Our brain literally shuts off when we’re watching television. While you might think you’re relaxing after a long hard day with your favorite show, what you’re actually doing is shutting down completely, much like a stoner who takes downers or smokes marijuana.
Reading keeps the analytical and creative sides of our brain turned on so we can process what’s going on in life, dream big dreams, and relax all at once!
Forgive – don’t hold grudges
Ever heard someone being described as a person who has a chip on their shoulder. Perhaps you’re that person? Carrying a grudge around with you makes you negative and often becomes an excuse for why we can’t be happy – your wife took all your money in the divorce; your husband was a two-timing cheat; your parents never supported you; your kids are ungrateful, etc.
Go somewhere you can scream without scaring other people: Next, concentrate really hard on the begrudging thing that’s bothering you for a few minutes; allow yourself to get really angry, then scream as loud and long as you can “GOODBYE!!!!” Say goodbye to the grudge and don’t look back.
Create and maintain social outlets
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert; humans are social beings, we’re the same as pack animals like wolves and lions. We need to talk to each other, offer support, learn from each other, feed each other, and have fun together. Loneliness makes us age faster and weakens the heart.
Have a full and happy life!
You owe it to yourself not to find yourself lying on your deathbed some day (hopefully some day far, far away) unhappy because of all the unrealized dreams and disappointments you accumulated throughout your life.
Remember that all of your dreams will die with you, so get out there and make them real while you still have time…