Many years ago, one of my clients told me another client said my therapy consisted of two things: Deep Breathing and Making Lists. That was an oversimplification of course, but sometimes we get in a rut. I incorporated more active listening, which by itself can be therapeutic, with other therapies, broadening my cognitive-behavioral work.
Still, breathing techniques can be helpful in times of stress:
Our ever-available breath can help us accept the things we cannot change or even give us courage to change the things we can. Have you ever taken a deep breath right before going into a challenging situation?
Making lists can also help us change the things we can. Lists help us organize and prioritize. List making gives me clarity when my thoughts are all over the place.
Here are a few of my favorite lists:
Things to do today. Ideally this should not be a long list, but if it is, be sure to prioritize.
- Go to work √
- Call Dad’s doctor √
- Schedule Vet appointment √
- Drink lots of water. (needs work)
Things I’m NOT doing today.
- I’m not taking down the Christmas Tree,
- I’m not worrying about when to take down the Christmas tree. (Maybe I’ll put valentines on it.)
Things I want to accomplish this week/month/year. Be specific and realistic.
- Spend 1/2 hour a week sketching
- Spend at least 4 hours a month painting, and
- Paint at least one picture that explores ideas for my book cover.
Things I’ve accomplished. Your list is likely a longer than you think.
- Graduated from college
- Got two extraordinary kids through high school
- Worked on forgiveness
- Painted the bathroom
am was looking for in a partner.
( Be careful what you wish for. “Must Love Dogs” landed me quite a pack.)
Things I’m not going to consume:
- sodas, except an occasional diet soda
( This list has gotten shorter over the years.)
Foods I will only eat on my birthday, and holidays, ………or when I’ve had a
really hard day,……or on some one else’s birthday. Or special occasions. And only in moderation!
- potato chips
- Ice cream
Things I’m going to consume more often:
- Green Leafy veggies: kale, collards, arugula……
- Foods with Indian Spices
- Quinoa (still figuring out what to do with this)
Ways to say no:
- No thanks,
- Been there, done that, don’t want the headache.
- Sorry. I’m allergic to that.
Ways to stall for time:
- Let me think about it.
- I’ll have to get back to you about that.
- I have to check my schedule.
- I have to go to the bathroom!
Things I’m going to buy with my income tax return:
all of itsome of it on the principle of my mortgage.
- Buy something for the house that will make life easier.
- Go to the movies.
Things I want to do when I retire:
- Write more.
- Paint more.
- Read more.
- Teach kids (or adults) to read, write and paint.
- Putter in the back yard.
- Take a walk every day.
- Visit Yosemite, then head north!
Things I like about myself:
- Open Minded
- Always Learning
That felt pretty therapeutic to me.
Do you like to make lists?