Senior Scene for October 5, 2015

I had the good fortune a few weeks ago to spend a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon in Prince Edward County at a well-known resort on the water listening to an inspiring speaker by the name of Dick O’Brien. The workshop was based on Personal Resiliency in Challenging Times, but on his website ( was even more information that should be helpful to my readers.  I did ask Dick if I could share some of his insightful advice and he was happy to oblige.  So, here you have it – “The World According to Dick”.

We are all going to have bad days and there are more bad days ahead of you. The real issue is not whether we will have difficult personal times; it is how much power and authority we give those bad days and difficult times over our lives. The real struggle here is to beware the trap of the victim mentality during the vulnerable moments of our lives. I have found that far too often we are less victims of life and more victims of our own thinking.

The first step to healthy living is to take ownership of your life and behaviors. When we ask, “Where does our stress come from?” The answer is always, “Ourselves”. The unhealthiest thing you can do is to identify as a victim of other people and your environment – 95 percent of the stress in your life is self-induced. Your schedule, environment or other people do not cause your stress.  It may often seem that way but the truth is that stress is a reaction by you to a perceived threat in your environment. It originates not in your circumstances but in your thinking. Change the way you think and you will change your life.

It is essential to understand that the beginning of stress management is to reflect on self-management. As we have noted, stress is a fact of life and a part of life. There is no escaping it, but there are some simple things you can do to prevent unnecessary stressful situations from developing in your life.

  • Set your alarm clock to get up at least 15 minutes earlier in the morning if you have a commitment. You will avoid last minute rushing and you will start the day in a more relaxed and less stressful way.
  • Eat breakfast. It should be wholesome but easy to prepare so that you do not waste time in the kitchen, but you do need energy to start your day.
  • Have everything written down. All of your most important chores of the day should be listed on a piece of paper. This will take much of the frenzy out of your life. Be prepared to accept the fact that you may not accomplish all the items on your list.
  • Make certain that you have your daily essentials with you at all times. Check to see that you have your keys, money, personal belongings, driver’s license and necessary credit and identification cards. Misplacing an item can cause stress when you suddenly discover that it is missing.

Stay tuned next week for another insightful episode of “The World According to Dick”.

Information in this column is compiled by Shell-Lee Wert- Executive Director of Community Care for South Hastings Inc., 470 Dundas Street East, Unit 63, Belleville, K8N 1G1. Please visit our website at, or email me at, or call 613-969-0130 or 613-396-6591 for information and assistance.  Community Care is a proud United Way member agency.  Funding in part from the South East Local Health Integration Network.