Lifestyle

Decreasing Stress through Healthy Planning

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By Robert Kabacy, Esq.

Many of us work out, eat right, try to get enough rest, and see our healthcare providers to be physically fit.

We have a goal in mind: keep our bodies healthy to live longer and vibrantly. Hopefully, if we prepare and pay attention to our physical health, we can accomplish that goal. By following a healthy physical lifestyle, we prepare more diligently for the natural aging process.

However, we sometimes contradict all our positive physical efforts with negative thoughts, emotions, and work styles.

In today’s fast-paced world, we tend to multitask and get distracted. We become reactive instead of remaining proactive. As a result, many are left with feelings of being spent or empty. These contradictions to good mental health can result in unhealthy levels of stress.

Many experts and studies report that our mental health and stress reduction is just as important to longevity as our physical health.

Similar to the results stemming from a lack of physical fitness, stress worsens over time unless we actively address and reduce it. We need to take a proactive approach to get things done.

A person who has a long list of important to-dos and does not get to them will often feel the stress and anxiety of procrastination. On the other hand, the feelings of accomplishment when we cross things off our to-do lists can help reduce stress and create a healthier mental outlook.

One area that approximately seven out of ten people do not prepare for is planning their estate or creating instructions for loved ones.

We all know we will die and that we should make things easier for those left behind when it occurs. But there are several reasons why most people don’t get around to planning, such as lack of information or knowledge and denial.

For those who haven’t addressed planning yet, the lack of preparation can cause stress. Much like completing tasks on a to-do list, planning your estate can provide a sense of accomplishment. This preparation will reduce stress by knowing you have planned arrangements to ease the burden on your loved ones.

Like working out or eating right, estate planning does not have to be difficult. However, as with working out and eating right, we sometimes don’t do what we should. We all can come up with lots of excuses to skip a workout or to eat right any day, despite knowing the positive effect it can have. Likewise, we have many excuses why estate planning is not important today, even though we know we should do it.

The formula to overcome procrastination and begin planning is not complicated or mysterious. We can choose to do something or not. We can choose to work out and eat right to reach the goal of having a healthy physical body and hopefully extend our lives.

We can also choose to be proactive and plan for our passing. We know that having a plan and getting things in order will put our minds at ease. We feel good knowing that our loved ones will have an easier time taking care of matters left to them.

Here are some simple steps to help get you started:

Decide to plan your estate and make a goal to accomplish it by a particular date.

Be mindful that this step can get pushed out indefinitely to the point of not getting it done. Good intentions do not make good planning.

Seek out an attorney in estate planning to assist you.

Referrals can be found by asking friends, colleagues, your financial planner, or your tax preparer/CPA.

Talk with the attorney about your goals, options, and costs.

Work with the attorney to get materials drafted on a timeline and set goals to get it done.

Finalize the formal legal plan.

Complete the practical, nonlegal information that loved ones need to know.

Such as the information contained in About Me that will complement your legal estate plan (but not be a substitute for it).

Congratulate yourself.

Be sure to revisit the plan from time to time to ensure it is updated and in line with your current life circumstances and wishes.

Like the good feelings after a workout or a healthy meal, completing the estate planning process can bring a sense of relief and knowledge that you accomplished an important task.

By getting your plan done, you can reduce stress in this one area, live healthier, and know that your loved ones will know what to do should something happen to you.

As Benjamin Franklin has been quoted, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Try not to be one of the seven out of ten that fail to plan.

Robert Kabacy, the author of About Me, has been a lawyer in the estate planning and wealth transfer industries for more than twenty-five years. About Me is a result of the passing of his mother and experiencing firsthand the difficulty of losing a loved one while navigating the mechanics that go with it. Learn more at robertkabacy.com.
Article sponsored by: Beyond Words Publishing
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