Why did I make a to don’t list? How did it help me live more mindfully?
Thing is, I love lists. I’ve said that enough number of times for everyone to know this. Lists keep me happy. They make me feel organized and encourage me to think that nothing is impossible. This week, I thought I’d catch up on my reading, which included my favorite blog list, newsletters I love and books I’ve been eager to read.
This week we’re also tackling dental health at home and kicked it off with Sury’s treatment which was more urgent. During the initial consultation, the doctor asked him if he had a stressful job. I said yes and Sury said no simultaneously. If the doc had asked me this question, I would have said no and Sury would have replied in the affirmative. Of course we experience stress – I with my deadlines and Sury with his multi-faceted work – he is a mathematician involved in research and teaching, besides being responsible for millions of other things in his position.
As I waited providing moral support I was making a mental to-do list and trying to allot a mnemonic so that I wouldn’t forget something. And then, it occurred to me – like the proverbial bolt from the blue – that we probably ought to make a to-don’t list. The goal? Get rid of stress. Move towards being happier people.
So here is what my stream of consciousness came up with, that I’d like to share with you. I haven’t split the things into categories – I didn’t feel the need to.
The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything
My To DON’T list
(I will not do these things, or at least try my best-est NOT to – so add a Don’t in front of each point as you read)
I will not . . .
- Hold a grudge
- Be too busy to connect with a friend
- Forget a good deed
- Hesitate to say I love you
- Fret over the small things
- Forget to enjoy the moment
- Forget to say thank you
- Fly off the handle at little things
- Be unkind
- Navel-gazing – self absorption
- Be judgmental
- Get stressed over something i cannot change
- Regret doing something i could easily have done
- Ignore a call for help
- Postpone an email
- Carry emotional baggage
- Force myself to do something i don’t want to do
- Say what I don’t mean
- Put off forgiveness
- Delay doing a good thing
- Refuse to see the other point of view
- Delay going to the doctor
- Ignore a health risk
- Mindless snacking
- Buy what I don’t need
- Miss the little moments
- Live in the past
- Think negative
I could add much more – but since i was sitting at the dentist, I thought 32 was a good number.
I plan to do the following to be happier than I am. I am a natural optimist and believe – yes, you guessed it – everything is possible. I believe in finding happiness around me in every little thing and I am truly grateful for the wonderful people in my life. This helps me maintain a cool frame of mind and smile all the time. Most of the time 😉
Happiness is a choice
Here is my happiness checklist to complement my to don’t list
- Simplifying life by letting go of complexities – I read somewhere that to simplify their lives, one of the things that monks in Buddhist monasteries do is shave their heads. Since I am still trying to reach the state where I am comfortable cutting my hair short, I look for other ways to simplify and make life easy
- Letting go of anger, pride, ego, sadness
- Practicing gratitude by maintaining a gratitude journal. You know, one of my favourite mood –uppers is giving myself three minutes to list ten things that make me happy. I always come up with more.
- Pausing to recharge, especially when life is racing ahead.
- Being compassionate and caring for others
- Connecting with community
- Being in touch with friends
- Sitting down and feeling. Yes. Collecting thoughts and smiles
- Making a thank you list. Take a sheet of paper – set your timer for three minutes – and write down everything that makes you happy. It is easy
- Adding to my happiness jar
- Remembering that everything happens for a good reason. There’s probably something better waiting down the line.
- Smile a lot
What would your To Don’t list look like?
Do you have a happiness checklist?
The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now.Robert G. Ingersoll