Monday, September 26, 2016


Practice what you preach and thanks for the memories

My husband often reminds me, “You have to practice what you preach.” For years I have been writing health columns about positive thinking and the benefits of optimism. I have written about combating depression, caring for the caregivers, practicing gratitude, and the importance of meditation and mindfulness.

This will be my last health column for Healthy Living. My husband and I are retiring and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area of California to live near our daughter and her family. I have mixed emotions. I have always “preached” that life is short, and family comes first. But it is easy to say that, and pretty difficult to make such a big life change. I have made lifelong friends here on the East Coast, and will have to become part of a new community on the West Coast. For over 40 years, I have worked as a nurse, taking time off for only a few months after the births of my children. Looking at retirement looming ahead, especially in a totally new environment, I need to practice what I preach.

In an effort to stay positive, I have written a few tips to keep me motivated.

Practice gratitude every day. In the words of David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, “The root of joy is gratefulness…. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” Life can be a roller coaster. When we practice gratitude, we see and experience more of the “good” in life, regardless of life’s circumstances.

Be kind to others and yourself. Plato, the Greek philosopher said it best, “Be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” It’s easier to accept when someone seems unkind — we never know what battle they may be secretly fighting.

Forgive others — don’t hold grudges. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness.

Every day, indulge yourself in one thing. Something that prevents or wards off cravings and makes you happy. For me, that indulgence is reading a spicy novel while eating one ounce of dark chocolate.

“To love what you do and feel that it matters, how can anything be more fun?” Renowned publisher Katherine Graham said these wise words, and hopefully we can always find things to do that we love.

It’s never too late to live happily ever after. My friends have this saying engraved on a plaque over the entrance to their home. It’s worth remembering after enduring some tough times.

Laugh more. Laughter feels great. It releases endorphins, the chemical in the body that makes us feel great. Laughter brings us together. It’s a wonderful way to bond with others. One of the nicest things a co-worker ever said to me is, “I always love to share a good laugh with you.”

No matter what your past has been, your future is spotless. What an interesting perspective...and so very true.

I hope we can all share in these tips for maintaining optimism. Whether young or old, just starting a career, looking at imminent retirement like me, or well into the retirement years, we can all agree it’s always better to look at the positive side of the situation. I have promised my husband that I won’t be preaching about optimism any more; I will be practicing it. I sincerely wish all of you good fortune and sunny skies, too.

The world is getting smaller by way of internet connectivity, social media, Skype, and Facetime on our cell phones.

With that thought in mind, friends, I am signing off “til we meet again.”

Alice Facente is a community health education nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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