When you're stressed out, too stressed out, try making one of these lists instead. It's a brilliant way to counter the thoughts that are driving you crazy. The simple act of putting your thoughts somewhere else makes space for new energy to come through. You might find a piece of wisdom you didn't even know you had.
30 Lists to Make When Life Feels Chaotic, Knotted, Stuck, Twisted, Confusing, and a Just a Little Too Overwhelming
1. Pick an experience that was painful or unpleasant, but start with one that doesn’t bring up too much pain in the present, something you can accept. List the ways you’ve grown from this, what you can be grateful for now, or what treasure was deposited in the wake of the ruin.
2. Simple pleasures that make your life easier, more comfortable, richer, more enjoyable.
3. What you love about your significant other, parent, child, best friend, new friend, or someone you see often.
4. The qualities, traits, skills, or habits you’ve picked up this past year that move you forward. Small improvements you’ve made, too, because they all count and add up.
5. Ideas for how you can take care of yourself. Right now, right here.
6. Achievements, victories big and small, milestones you’ve celebrated this past year.
7. Collect a list of your favorite inspirational quotes.
8. Gift ideas for the people you love.
9. Simple, random acts of kindness you’d be willing to try (if not now, someday).
10. The things that really matter to you: your top priorities, values, preferences.
11. The people you’re grateful for. Include a sentence describing why you’re grateful for them and what they’ve given you or helped you with.
12. Places you’d like to visit and travel to (if money, time, and resources weren’t a thing) and what you'd do when you visited.
13. Lessons you’ve learned this past year, or month.
14. Your favorite books, movies, shows, plays, songs.
15. All the events, people, or situations you’re willing to forgive. You don’t have to actually forgive them right now.
16. Your favorite words.
17. All the details of your dream home: what it would look like, smell like, sound like, feel like.
18. All the feelings you want to feel. Your core desires. Focus on the feelings themselves as you write them down, not what it'd take to get there. Make this a meditation.
19. Ideas you have for a creative project (sometimes called a “brain dump”). DIY project, vision board, home renovation, blog posts, journal prompts, scrapbook, photography shoots, anything and everything that lights up your creative side.
20. The hard times you’ve been through in the past that you somehow made it through. What/who helped you make it through?
21. Everything you can think of that makes you think of “coziness.”
22. Expectations and outcomes you’d like to let go of and entrust to a higher plan, power or energy; what you need assistance with. A universe box can help you with this.
23. The specific details and features of your imagined “happy place.” Mine includes a waterfall, a little island with a hammock, a clear blue pool of warm water, a field of flowers by the mountain...
24. Write a list of key life lessons you’d want your 10-year-old self to know.
25. Write a letter to your future self (pick an age) detailing the dreams you’d like to come to fruition by then.
26. Questions you'd ask your role model, whether they're still alive or not.
27. The ways in which you enjoy expressing your creativity; what you love doing in your spare time, how you like to move your body, art that inspires you, etc.
28. All of the things you can think of that are too precious for a price tag.
29. The words of advice, comfort, and reassurance you'd offer a friend who was feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or confused.
30. All the ways people have shown you love and compassion over the past week, month, year, decade.
. . .
Which of these lists do you think would help you the most right now?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
P.S. Need a little more help letting go? Get my book Sleep Rituals for 100 at-home practices that are all about you and the present moment. It’s more than a book about sleeping better. It’ll help you feel better so you can live and love better. And that’s… everything.