By Jena Williams

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After a long, sad week, we are still trying to wrap our minds around the tragedy of the SR 530 landslide disaster, of those who were killed or not yet found, of the miraculous rescues and the heroes, and the realizations that survivors have lost everything. What can we learn or take away from it all? Can this reminder of the unpredictably shortness of life impact us, even if we are watching the drama unfold from the sidelines?

I believe it can. It can remind us to take out time for those we love, to put people before tasks and to mend the fences where we can.

The example of a regular day becoming a tragedy of unsaid goodbyes can remind us to give hugs and to give forgiveness. Both are shown in numerous studies to relieve stress, which will help your health in general and allow you to function better in all aspects of your life.

It is worth it to hug your loved ones (even the difficult ones) and to apologize early (even if they are mostly to blame). Your steps will be lighter each day and so will theirs.

Helpful links:

American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Responds-to-Washington-Mudslide

Information on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

How to handle unresolved conflict in your family: http://stress.about.com/od/relationships/qt/unresolved.htm

*Image:  Peanuts creator Charles Schulz