Submitted by Carol Tomlinson RN BS, Community Health Educator
HEALTH LESSONS FROM YOUR TO-DO-LIST
Are you a list-maker? Should you be one? According to Prevention Magazine, new research shows that writing lists does the mind and body good in many ways, from making you happier to increasing your workout time or intensity. There’s more…list making can also help you:
Gain Control: “Surprisingly, lists help us reach our goals even when we don’t accomplish everything on them,” says Dr. Lyumbomirsky, a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Each time you cross something off, it’s a mental reminder that you are making progress. A list can also help you to realize when you need to delegate. For example, couldn’t your spouse stop at the store?
Maximize Brainpower: You can only keep 7-9 things in your working memory at any given time. So when you try to remember all the things you need to do, you use up cognitive energy. But if you make a list, you free up brainpower to analyze your tasks and prioritize, delegate or even eliminate some. Plus, you have a much better chance of actually picking up the milk if it is on your list.
Make Tough Decisions: If you’re paralyzed by indecision, make a “brainstorm list.” Jot down anything that comes to mind, no matter how improbable. The simple act of tackling a problem on paper can help you feel better equipped to handle it.
Beat a Slump: List your happiest moments, such as the day you fell in love or the moment you first became a parent or grandparent. Then, close your eyes and relive the event as if you are there. One study found that people who reminisced 10 minutes a day reported increased happiness.
Find Motivation: People who compiled weekly gratitude lists were more enthusiastic about life in general, according to recent research.
Achieve Balance: When you are losing sight of your priorities, make a “my life would be better if” list. By enumerating and giving priority to the things that would provide the most lasting happiness, you’ll see where to focus your energy.
Don’t Forget the Fun: A list that is top-heavy with obligations to others can quickly lead to stress and unhappiness. Make a list of things you enjoy doing like reading a good book or relaxing in a hammock. Include one of these items on your to-do-list each week.
Follow the 90 Day Rule: If a task hangs around that long, ask yourself whether it’s worth the guilt you feel every time you see it on your list. If it’s not essential, delete it and forget about it. For most tasks, delegate it or just do it. The sense of accomplishment will be sweet!
For more information on health and wellness, contact your healthcare provider or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Wellness Center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re celebrating 20 years of being your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.