Do you have exciting plans for your life that keep getting pushed aside by the daily grind?
Getting through school, working on your career, and raising a family often take precedence over vacations or projects. As people near retirement age, however, thoughts often turn to creating a bucket list of life goals.
A bucket list might include places to travel to, skills to develop, fun activities to participate in, and other goals. Whatever you choose to include on your list, creating one can be valuable to your mental and physical health.
Here are a few reasons you should take the time to make a bucket list:
Boost your happiness
Just the act of creating a bucket list can make you happier. In one study, researchers found that people planning trips had increased happiness before their trip. When compared to people not going on vacation, people planning a trip had higher levels of happiness. So, you don’t have to wait until you have time to complete the items on your list to enjoy them: You can enjoy the journey just as much.
Improve your heart health
Ticking off some of the items on your list could improve your heart health. Research shows that going on vacations can make your heart healthier, with one study finding that people who took annual vacations were less likely to die from heart problems. Take that trip to Europe, or go on the cruise you’ve dreamed about. Your heart will thank you.
Get in shape
Sure, a goal of being healthier and getting into shape sounds good. It might even be something you’ve aimed for off and on throughout your life. A bucket list could be just the motivation you need to get there. Rather than aiming for better health, you might have a bucket list item like running a 5K, participating in a triathlon, or climbing to the top of a mountain to see the sunrise. Having a specific goal in mind can give you the reason you need to improve your health and get it done.
“Including items on your bucket list that help get you into shape is a good way to prioritize your health,” says Sarah Hilton, a registered nurse. “Make sure to set measurable and attainable health goals so they can be inspiring for you, not discouraging.”
Receive stronger social support
People compiling a bucket list may take stock of their life so far and have regrets regarding personal relationships. If your bucket list includes improving relationships with family and friends, you may see benefits beyond the happiness those relationships can bring. Strong relationships can lead to better long-term health through lowered stress, decreased risk of depression, and reduced cognitive decline as you age.
If you don’t have a bucket list, don’t be afraid to try making one for yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to create a list, and you’re never too old or young to put one together. Start working on a list now, and enjoy yourself as you tackle your goals.
A version of this article was published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.