How Reverse Bucket Lists Actually Make You Happier

A few years ago, the idea of a bucket list became very popular – largely due to a movie. Before long, thousands of people were making one for themselves. In case you didn’t know, a bucket list is basically a list of things that a person wants to do or accomplish in their life before they die. However, recently researchers have discovered that reverse bucket lists actually are more rewarding and make people happier.

Basically a reverse bucket list is pretty simple and straightforward. Instead of listing all the things you would like to do one day, you would actually write down the list of the things that you have already accomplished – most notably the things of which you are most proud and happy about. It is the opposite of a typical bucket list.

The Benefits of a Reverse Bucket List

While scientists have not exactly evaluated all the benefits of having a reverse bucket list, this exercise does tap into a few topics that have been very well studied, such as gratitude.

Gratitude is generally viewed as the act of appreciating all the things that you have at any given moment. It also includes being grateful for everything you have done or experienced in the past as well.

A study conducted in the year 2015 study which was posted in The Journal of Positive Psychology examined how “grateful recounting” will enhance the general well-being of a person. This particular study requested the participants to recall at least three good things that happened to them within the previous 48 hours–and to briefly write about each of them–and to do this daily for a week. It was found that these people were able to remember positive memories easier than those who did not do this daily task. They also noted an overall increase in their well-being.

Reasons to Start a Reverse Bucket List

It is good to consider a reverse bucket list to be an exercise of grateful recall. You get to experience once again all the pride of joy of your accomplishments and experiences. And also you are taking the time to be grateful for them.

A reverse bucket list will also invigorate the power of nostalgia. Lots of research has shown that recalling a meaningful or positive past experience from the past will even counteract things like boredom, loneliness, and even anxiety. It can also make people become “more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders,” according to finding by The New York Times. So when you create reverse bucket lists, it is actually a grouping your greatest memories.

Experts claim that when you create reverse bucket lists you are immediately provided with a feeling of progress. The problem with regular bucket lists is that they often become cumbersome like a daily to-do list does– even to the point of feeling overwhelmed. But when you take stock of the things you have already accomplished, you get a boost in your self-esteem and motivation levels. This is the reason that productivity gurus have always praised these “done” lists–because it allows us to see all the progressed we have made. And this is certainly much more encouraging than the feeling that we are falling behind. And from all this we get to enjoy a major feeling of fulfillment.