Today was all about doing my DBT homework which was doing pleasant activities and going through the list of pleasant activities handout and seeing how many of those things I could be adding into my life. If this doesn’t sound like therapy to you – that’s because it seems so weird to purposely put pleasant things on your daily agenda. But if you’ve ever been mired or paralyzed by anxiety and/or depression or other destabilizing emotional issues – you know that sometimes we forget to do all the little unharmful things we enjoy and stick mostly to the more harmful methods of coping. If that wasn’t true, you wouldn’t be in therapy like me and wouldn’t be interested in this shit anyway.
In the handout the teachers gave us there are 275 “pleasant events” listed just to give us an idea of what kind of things we might not remember to do/think about when we’re stressed. I found 84 of those things copacetic and also on the list were a bunch of things that actually cause me enormous stress. I’m absolutely aware that the point of the list is that we’re all different and this is just a jumping off point in making my own list.
It’s entirely possible that some people find going to class reunions pleasant while I would rather have a splinter shoved in my eye.
I’m going to make my own list of 50 pleasant events that are personal to me (in no particular order). If you’re following along and wanna participate – please do! But first, a couple more pictures from today’s adventures.
Angelina’s 50 Pleasant Events List:
1. Driving my Vespa through the countryside or through pretty neighborhoods
2. Fostering kittens
3. Going out to dinner with Philip and Max
4. Going out to happy hour with my sister
5. Staying in hotels and watching cable TV
6. Hanging out with close friends
8. Spotting wildflowers everywhere I go
10. Seeing the local wild turkeys drift through neighborhoods and chatting with them
11. Watching serial killer documentaries
12. Walking barefoot in the garden on a hot day
13. Wading in ice cold ocean water/walking along the beach with ice cold waves washing over my feet
14. Remembering happy trips: Vespa ride to Oregon, family trip to SLC, Glasgow with Zeke and Tara
15. Driving through countryside with Philip
16. The smell of onions being sauteed wafting through neighborhoods in early evening
17. Sitting on our porch when it’s warm out and waving to neighbors, just hanging out
18. Having a nice hot cup of strong British tea with milk and sugar.
19. First cup of coffee in the morning
20. Listening to the sounds of nature whilst not being accosted by arachnids with personal space issues.
21. Taking walks through the neighborhood
22. The sounds of doves cooing in the neighborhood
23. Falling asleep to familiar television shows
24. Sharing my food and potions and projects with friends
25. Being included/invited to things even though I often don’t participate
26. Sitting at a vintage desk typing just about anything
27. Making lists of – just about anything
28. Kittens falling asleep on me
29. Talking with my kid
30. Playing with essential oils and herbs and potions
31. Foraging for food and herbs
32. Processing large quantities of food for preserving
33. Growing flowers I can cut and bring inside
34. Caring for my roses
35. Being in nature (without doing anything extreme like hiking or spelunking or getting killed by serial killers. Just hanging out on a slope on a mountain is peaceful)
36. Hanging out with chickens
37. Wading in a really fucking ice cold creek on a really hot day
38. Making things for other people
39. Cleaning house (but NOT laundry, laundry can go fuck itself)
40. Open windows on a warm but slightly breezy day
41. Being absolutely still and thinking absolutely nothing – listening to the sounds all around me (doubles as a mindfulness exercise)
42. Eating really amazing food
43. Opera music
44. Hanging around tidepools chatting up the urchins, starfish, and barnacles
45. The hot dry herby smell of the California hills in summer
46. Helping animals, caring for animals, rescuing animals
47. The sting of nettles (no really, it’s peculiar and I rather like it)
48. Reaching personal goals I’ve set for myself
49. Writing (fiction, nonfiction, bullshit, journals)
50. Showing kindness to people whether it costs me a lot or a little or nothing
It’s time for me to go drink some tea. So here’s my check-in with my goals:
I took a short evening walk
I ate really vibrant healthy food that made me feel good inside
I worked on my DBT homework by stopping to take pictures of wildflowers on my way to the store which is something I really love (taking pictures of wildflowers/all flowers) and by spending time thinking about all the activities that bring me a sense of well being (big or tiny, it all counts).
I tried a new recipe while watching serial killer docs.
I did some deep breathing.
And I’m not drinking alcohol tonight.