In her book, Another Country, Navigating Emotional Terrain of Our Elders, Mary Pipher talks about the 5 R’s. These are, in no particular order, Relaxation, Relationships, Results, Respect, and Realization.
She suggests that as we age we keep the 5 R’s in the forefront of our mind and as we choose to do things, we can ask ourselves if the choice fulfills one of the R’s. The 5 R’s feed into resilience and overtime help us be more resilient in the face of difficulties.
Although, in her book she uses the 5R’s within the context of being elderly and shares stories of amazing individuals living these characteristics… it seems reasonable to me to incorporate the 5R’s at any age as part of a lifestyle.
As a stress buffer, integrating activities that foster relaxation in daily life would add quality to life beyond measure. Be it meditation, reading, watching t.v., time with family, working on a project or a hobby.
It has been proven in different ways that from birth we are wired for connection. Building relationships with family and friends, having pets, volunteering, belonging to social groups are all ways to stay connected with others. Time spent daily connecting with others fills a deeper aspect of ourselves and leaves us less vulnerable to physical and emotional illnesses.
At the end of the day, we want to know that however we spent our time…it was worthwhile. For some a day of work fulfills that result, for others it may be lending a helpful hand, sharing a happy moment with someone, starting a project or finishing one.
Feeling respected and being treated with respect are important to our core sense of self worth and self esteem. Defining self respect and cultivating relationships and a lifestyle that mirrors respect is an ongoing process and requires being reflective as well.
Realization is a lifelong journey and it leads to a sense of wholeness. Mary Pipher calls it “growing of a soul” and for me that phrase sits in a peaceful spot knowing that all of life is a journey and as we make sense of what happens in the chapters of our life story, we are able to integrate self realizations and don’t have to assume a position of stagnation at any time.