Great article from Barbara Markway on Psychology Today about learning to rearrange your priorities and live in the present.
Barbara says: “You wouldn’t think that dwelling on death could make you happier, but considerable clinical and scientific evidence points to the benefits of doing just this.
Irvin D. Yalom, a noted psychiatrist interested in the interplay between spirituality and psychology, has done extensive work with cancer patients and their families. He found that the monumental shock of such a diagnosis results in far-reaching changes in the patient’s life, including:
- A rearrangement of life’s priorities: what is trivial emerges as such, and can be ignored.
- A sense of liberation: being able to choose not to do those things you do not wish to do.
- An enhanced sense of living in the immediate present, rather than postponing life until some point in the future.
- A vivid appreciation of the elemental facts of life: the changing seasons, the wind, falling leaves, the last Christmas, and so forth.
- Deeper communication with loved ones than before the crisis.
- Fewer interpersonal fears, less concern about rejection, greater willingness to take risks than before the crisis.
Confronting the idea of death makes us live more fully in the present. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring; we only have this day, this moment. When we are fully present in the moment, not thinking about the future, we’re less likely to plague ourselves with the “what ifs” of life. In addition, noted psychologist Todd Kashdan, Ph.D(link is external). writes in his Huffington Post article, “Confronting Death with an Open, Mindul Attitude”(link is external), that greater openness to thinking about death allows for more compassion for and fairness to others.”
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