How long before lunch time? How much longer till the end of the day? when can I get back to my bed again? So often we spend our days consciously or subconsciously counting down. I hear this many a day from office staff, even if it is an hour into the work day” How many more hours before I punch out?” Everything we do is counting down. We are taught todo this as we plan our routines, essentially helping us get from task to task. At a traffic light in some countries the moment the red signal starts for 60-90 seconds and a little counter display starts counting down and literally 15 seconds away from the green light the car honking begins from the back to the front. We are programmed to count down.
This counting down extends the length throughout our lives. We are counting down the years till we die. We count down till the next vacation. We count down till the next meal. We count down till the next chance we can curl up into bed and sleep. Even my toothbrush has a counting down timer for two minutes to make sure that I brush for the minimum recommendation of 2 minutes. In my opinion counting down leads to more stress. We are pressured to complete tasks in a time sensitive environment without appreciating what we are actually doing, as there is probably another long list of directives waiting for us, and we have to get through it all, and so counting down till all tasks are done and then and only then can we rest. We even count down days till christmas as we wait for Santa to come and visit. Counting down is ever more obvious on New Years Eve when we count down till the very end of the old year and celebrate the beginning of the next.
But what if you decide to put this paradigm on its head and count upwards? You may be surprised how much more productive, and happier you are. There is so much more freedom knowing that there is time to spend to do something, as opposed to knowing you only have a limited time after which you are on borrowed time, or have failed in your attempts at completing the task. Imagine the feeling of joy that you have so many more years of a healthy life. More years to be creative, more time to learn, more time to explore and visit places. Counting up actually releases more endorphins with more happiness and more peace. I believe that we were not meant to live a stress-full life but instead a stress-less or stress-free life. Counting up makes you look forward towards your next task versus dreading it. Counting up the years of your life as you go, piles on wisdom instead of hating getting old and counting down till the end. If we were meant to only count down we should have been born old and work backwards, yet we are born young to be able count upwards. Even when we are taught our numerics we count up. Now do not jump into the negative sense and count up the national expenditure and debt, but instead count up with amount of good that can be done with that money spend in the appropriate sectors of public expenditure.
I have found counting up the number of stars in the night sky very fun, as I am relieved that the universe is that big to hold so many constellations, and so in comparison my problems are that small and insignificant. Counting down is finite, counting up is infinite. Which side of infinity do you wish to be? So start counting up your blessings each day, along with the number of things to be grateful for in your life. You can start simple, go big. Count up all the good things you have done and build on it. You can count up all the bad things that have happened to you or said to you in the day, but at the end let that list go. You may just end up living a more fuller life, a more wholesome fresher existence. Counting down the negatives, and counting up the positives may lead to a better balance sheet as you find you are in the black more often than not.
If you are having a hard time counting, ask your nearest child to help you. They will gladly assist with a smile get you back in the mode of appropriate directional counting. Luckily my toothbrush has the program setting that counts upwards to 2 minutes as well!
How high can you count today?