When Your To-Do List Has You Up at Night, Try the “I Did” List



A few nights ago I woke up at 3:30AM worrying about all the things I haven't done. This happens sometimes. I have a list in my head of all the things that people are counting on me to do, the bills that need paying, the trip to the vet my dog needs. Getting increasingly anxious, I thought, "Wait a minute. Instead of thinking about what you didn't do, think about what you did do!

Once I gave myself permission, I could actually think of a few things I managed to get done the day before. It felt good to remember. As I thought about them, I could feel my entire body let go. Nice and relaxed, I fell asleep.

Most of us have trouble sleeping from time to time. I shared this little story with my friends on Facebook and got quite a response. Like this from Gina:

"I like that idea of a reverse "To Do" List, more like a "Did" List. There's so much you do that you don't write down. That might even be a good evening practice. Before going to bed, think about your "Did" list. That way you set yourself up for a good night sleep evey time! Hmm, might try that!"

Another friend, Steve, pointed out that the "Did" List sounded very CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) which is true. It's hard to think two opposing thoughts at once (try it!) so anything, counting sheep, reading an enjoyable book, reciting the nation's capitols, is a good remedy for nasty worries that come in the dead of night when you can't do anything about them. 

Sweet dreams!

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