In this month's article, Regrets, I discuss the value of "knowing" our regrets and learning from the situations we experienced.
In Tips for Visualizing as You Embrace Change, I discuss how valuable it is to recognize and appreciate the opportunities that come with change.
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KNOW REGRETS or NO REGRETS: the choice is yours.
Few people have NO regrets. We live our lives with the choices we made, and sometimes, as we review our past, we have regrets about such things as romance, family, education, career, finances, parenting, to name just some areas.
Regrets can motivate people to change their behavior which is a positive, but generally, the problem with regret occurs when the regrets interfere with our ability to be in the present, to be happy now, and when those regrets get in the way of our moving on with our lives.
Even when we carefully plan our decisions, we will likely have regrets. What could have been and what we can't know for sure will be in the back of our mind, especially if we are disappointed with the outcome of our final choices. But for those of us who let regrets paralyze our lives in the present, it's time to accept what is instead of what could have been, and start constructively dealing with regret.
Sometimes we feel guilty. We wallow in the past and beat ourselves up about "the road not taken" (which we feel would have been so much better than the road we took!). That may be so, but it is done - finished - and can only serve as a source of pain if not worked through. If we stay in the space of regret, we can feel we deserve to be punished or deserve to be unhappy, which leads us to stay stuck. When we stay stuck and we miss the chance to benefit and learn from what happened. And that prevents us moving forward.
Staying in a place of regret can have a negative impact on our health, particularly because we become more susceptible to colds, respiratory issues, and headaches. Ruminating over past regrets can also contribute to sleeplessness, difficulty focusing, anxiety, and depression - the last two particularly when we keep asking our self, "How could I be so stupid?" This is awful not just for our self but for everyone around us.
We can work through this if we make amends with our self in order to minimize the negative influence we let regrets have in our life. Not only will we be happier but so will our loved ones who suffer as a result of our painful self-punishing attitude and mood.
Interestingly, the SERENITY prayer is something that can help in the discussion of regrets. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." We can try to study and repeat this, but if we don't always make the wise choice or have the courage to do what we should, that doesn't mean we can't move forward with the rest of our lives. We cannot change the past. But we can accept it, learn from it, and commit to integrate the lessons we learn, and be the best person we can be as we move forward.
When we are filled with regret, we haven't adequately worked through the emotions associated with our past experiences. Having regrets, especially ones we keep secret or only indulge in when we are reviewing how awful a mess we made our life, is also a way of refusing to let go of something, and that's unhealthy for our emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. We refuse to accept that we are human and that as humans we make mistakes or choices that we, in hindsight, are embarrassed by, ashamed of, or not proud of.
When we didn't make the best decision, it's important that we own up to it and start accepting responsibility for it. This is different from wallowing and beating ourselves up. How can we healthfully move on if we won't acknowledge the reality of the role we played? We can review and ask our self what our prime motivation was at the time and what our priorities should be if there is a next time. Accepting responsibility can be quite empowering, and it allows us to more realistically evaluate a future decision.
There is a lesson with every regret, and it's just waiting to be found. A big shift occurs when we view regret as a learning opportunity - it is the only way we will ever find some value in it - and there's always something to be taken away from our experiences. Next, if possible, we can take specific steps to mend our mistakes. For example, if we regret not telling someone how we felt about him or her before they passed away, we can make an effort to let those in our life now know how much we love and appreciate them. We may not be able to take something back, but we can use the lessons we have learned to help others.
While it's likely we won't escape regrets in life, we can learn how to make amends with our self in order to minimize the negative influence we allow let regrets have in our life. Not only will we be happier but so will our loved ones who suffer as a result of our suffering.
A Good Daily Habit
Filling Spiritual and Emotional Needs
Sometimes when we feel "out of balance" we imagine that balance being restored if we just buy that fabulous item! -- some material thing that will "make us happy."
For the short term, this may work. We may feel that some emptiness is filled by that "thing" but in the long term, the void we are attempting to fill will still be there. That "happiness" is not likely to last.
Because internal voids are not satisfactorily filled by physical objects. Yes, of course, we all need a certain amount (and this varies among us) of food, clothing, shelter, and comfort to meet our physical needs. Beyond that, however, what appears to be essential for inner contentment is not more material items, but such things as time alone as well as time with loved ones; satisfying, challenging experiences where we can feel accomplishment, and, when we re-visit those experiences, we feel content; focusing on the present and being grateful for what we have; engaging in laughter; relaxation and meditation.
These are some of the elements that nourish our spiritual life and cannot be met with material things.
As a daily habit, we can do something to nurture our inner life.
|Sanity SaversTM TIPS
Tips for Visualizing as You Embrace Change
Some people like change. Others don't. You may be someone who likes some change, but only in specific areas of your life.
Each of us has our own unique way to approach and deal with change. And like it or not, we can be confident that change is a constant in our life.
A change in life circumstances, whether positive or negative, is something that initially may knock us off-balance as we wonder how we are going to get through it. We may resist, deny, or embrace the change. We may ask: "What does this mean?" "Why did this happen?" "How will I adjust?" "Whom else will this affect?" "How do I find my way?" "Is there an underlying reason for this?" "Can there be an opportunity here?"
When something comes your way that you didn't foresee, get back on track by trying the following tips:
When There is Change There is Loss. - We can remind ourselves that we will likely experience feelings of loss. We can try to avoid making assumptions about the future, spinning fear-based stories about how things will be. We need to do what we can to stay present in our feelings, and move through the loss which will likely allow us to, ultimately, feel less overwhelmed, and see possibilities and opportunities.
Call on Your Friends and Family. - The support of people close to us is critical as we go through change. But if the people we thought we could count on are preoccupied with their own lives, or do not understand the impact of this change, we need to seek other forms of support such as counseling, coaching, support groups, organizations, and online forums. Going through change alone is often more difficult..
Keep Healthy Routines in Place. - Eating sensibly, exercising regularly, taking time for reflection, participating in meaningful rituals, can all help to reinforce a sense of control while we feel our life is in a state of flux. The simplest routine or ritual can help us feel grounded during a time of confusion.
Visualize and Adjust. - We can, throughout the day, breathe deeply as we quietly visualize ways we can creatively adjust to this change in our life. Creating a comforting mental picture help us to embrace the change. Breathing and using visualization techniques are powerful and effective "companions" to approach uncertainty, face our fears, and adapt to the unknown. By practicing these techniques, we can more likely adapt to the change in a healthy way, and see the opportunities and benefits that will come to us if we are open to them.
Remember, three Bs when you face challenges brought on by change: 1) Breathe; 2) Balance; and 3) Benefit.
TODAY Show (NBC).
Dr. Atkins is a frequent contributor.
July 3rd: 10AM hour -- The influence of Millennials.
July 18th: 9AM hour -- The I-Want Syndrome
Please check website, www.drdaleatkins.com, for updated appearances.
Dr. Atkins comments on breaking news for CNN's HLN. Please check HLNtv.com for updates.
Access Circles Aspen Forum
TC Today Magazine
Dr. Atkins is the focus of Work - Life Balance, written by James Reisler. Access PDF of the article at www.drdaleatkins.com.
Topics by Dr. Dale Atkins:
Tips for Getting Along with In-Laws: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Getting-Along-With-In-Laws.htm;
Warning Signs of a Troubled Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-a-Troubled-Marriage.htm;
Issues to Deal with before Marriage: http://video.about.com/marriage/Types-of-Issues-to-Deal-With-Before-Getting-Married.htm;
Warning Signs of Cheating Spouse: http://video.about.com/marriage/Warning-Signs-of-Cheating-Spouses.htm;
Tips for Maintaining Interfaith Marriages: http://video.about.com/marriage/Tips-for-Maintaining-Interfaith-Marriages.htm;
Tips for Growing Old Together:
and, Most Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Married: http://video.about.com/marriage/Most-Important-Questions-to-Ask-Before-Getting-Married.htm.
Visit Marlo Thomas' site to access my relationship column and Mondays with Marlo video stream. http://marlothomas.aol.com/search/?q=dale+atkins
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Therapeutic
Issues with Recipients of Cochlear Implants,"
in the new text, Psychotherapy With Deaf
Clients From Diverse Groups, Second Edition.
Edited by Irene Leigh, and published by
Gallaudet University Press.
Read Dr. Atkins' chapter, "Family
Involvement and Counseling in Serving
Children Who Possess Impaired Hearing,"
in the new text, Introduction
to Aural Rehabilitation.
Edited by Raymond H. Hull, and published by
I invite you to visit my website to access archives of articles and interviews on line.
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|Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life
SANITY SAVERS: Tips for Women to
Balanced Life is filled
with suggestions to save
every day of the year.
A must for any woman
seeking to find her balance!
Once again thank you for continuing to read
and talk about Sanity Savers: Tips for
Women to Live a Balanced Life.
WE CAN ALL ADDRESS THE LITERACY
CRISIS IN THIS
COUNTRY. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that recruits and trains college students and community corps members to serve preschool children in low-income neighborhoods in year-long mentoring relationships. Jumpstart's proven curriculum helps children develop the language, literacy, and socio-emotional skills they need to be ready for school, setting them on a path to close the achievement gap before it is too late.
Please help to spread the word about the mission of Jumpstart and the remarkable strides being made in low income neighborhoods every day. If you can, contribute by clicking on www.jstart.org/donate
www.jstart.org/donate. There is something that every single one of us can do to help those less fortunate. Over one million children live below the poverty level in the U.S. This shameful situation must change. Each of us has a responsibility to repair our world. Let us eliminate the 2-year achievement gap that exists between children from low income and those from middle income neighborhoods when they begin kindergarten!
to learn more about Jumpstart
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"Contentment makes poor men rich.
Discontent makes rich men poor.
DALE V. ATKINS Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist,
lecturer and commentator in the media who
on the Today show.
She has more than twenty-
years of experience and focuses on living a
life, parenting, aging well, managing stress,
work transitions, family connections and healthy
Dr. Atkins is the author
and/or co-editor of several books including:
Their Private Thoughts about their Private
Families and their Hearing-Impaired
OK, You're My Parents
Let Go of Anger and Create a Relationship that
Wedding Sanity Savers
Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and
Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect
book . . .
Savers: Tips for Women to
Find out more....
As Seen on the TODAY SHOW!
Wedding Sanity Savers
How to Handle the Stickiest Dilemmas, Scrapes and Questions that Arise on the Road to Your Perfect Day
You're My Parents
How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works