This “52 Lists For Happiness” Book Helps Me Wind Down At Night

This “52 Lists For Happiness” Book Helps Me Wind Down At Night

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Since 2020 is *gestures vaguely in every direction*, a lot of us have had, uh, interesting sleep routines. And as someone who has always had trouble sleeping, I’m the first one on every sleep hack bandwagon — which is why I love this 52 Lists For Happiness book so much.

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

It’s currently available on Amazon for $10.22, Bookshop (to support local bookstores!) for $15.59, and all over my Instagram Stories, in case you wanted to see someone try and fail desperately to create an ~aesthetic~.

Part of this is because, as both a Hufflepuff and an anxious bean, I love myself a list. Grocery lists, budget lists, lists of lists I want to make. Give me a color-coded Excel sheet and watch my soul sing.


Like, writing this article was on my to-do list and GOD will it feel amazing to cross off.

At first this book almost made my brain a little 🥴, because I’m not used to writing lists that aren’t for work or for personal goals. And this book is full of lists like “List The Things That Made You Happy As A Child” or “List The Compliments You Want To Give Others,” which are not as utilitarian as, say, a list of how many yogurts I need to buy this week.

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

But as you can see, there is a page to “List The Foods That Taste Great And Make You Feel Good About Yourself When You Eat Them,” which was, for me, a yogurt-centric list, so.

But once I got over that hurdle of “this isn’t productive!!”, it has actually been very soothing to write in on nights when I’m having trouble sleeping. It sort of feels like a gratitude journal with training wheels, because someone is giving you prompts.


Sometimes you gotta pull a Carrie Underwood and be all, “Journal take the wheeeeeel …”

In fact, it feels like something I might have enjoyed casually a pre-quarantine, but is much more meaningful to me now. We’re all struggling with things that we miss, and journaling through these lists gives you an opportunity to focus and reflect on the things that actually matter to you.

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

I think when quarantine first began the list of “things we miss” for all of us was long enough to reach the moon — beyond just missing having any semblance of control over the situation, it spanned everything from job security to hanging out with friends to little rituals we used to as we went about our day. To some degree there’s still no way to make those feelings more compact and manageable, but writing the lists at least makes me both nostalgic for pre-virus life and hopeful for the future.

What I especially like is that each list ends with an action item inspired by the list that you can incorporate in your life for the short- or long-term, or at least keep top of mind.

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

Like, there’s one list where you write down things you love to do that don’t involve technology. I’ve been trying to read more both for kicks and for my own education, and the action item above was a reminder that I could do that with physical books where I *don’t* get distracted by the 56 tabs I cannot seem to close on my browser for the life of me. A great reminder that I have the attention span of a drunk baby bird and that material is absorbed much better when you take conscious steps to focus!

And while it hasn’t been, like, a mystical insomnia cure, I do notice that it streamlines a little bit of the chaos in my brain that seems to get especially loud just when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

You know that thing where you can be super tired and then put your head down on the pillow and then your brain is all 📢💥🤯? Writing in these lists makes it a little more 🌊🧯🤫.

Plus, if you’re looking for an even *more* chill vibe, the author, Moorea Seal, has a 52 Lists For Calm (available on Amazon for $10.42 and Bookshop for $15.59) full of soothing prompts and exercises.

Sasquatch Books

This one has lists like “List The People You Think Of As Your Chosen Family” and “List The Labels And Expectations That Have Been Placed On You By Family, Friends, Colleagues, And Others.”

In fact, Seal has a whole SERIES of 52 list books, planners, and postcards, so feel free to blaze through your first one — there are plenty more lists where that came from.


YES I work for a site where I make lists all day and then immediately seek comfort in writing even MORE lists, but we all have our quirks.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something to do in quarantine that might help reframe some of your thoughts or explore some untapped parts of yourself, 52 Lists For Happiness is a good place to start. You can snag it on Amazon or Bookshop and join me in the glorious list-making abyss.

Emma Lord/BuzzFeed

Happy socially-distanced listing, y’all.

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