How Bucket Lists Can Help The Terminally Ill

Bucket lists are inventories of things to do before you die, they’re often developed by people who know that they may have little time left. It’s thought of whether they’re good ideas and beneficial or if they cam cause harm. Is it useful to generate lists due to expense or illness, can these be perceived as unrealistic?

Nowadays, the term bucket list is a part of everyday language, it may seem hard to believe that it entered our language in the last 10 years. Its origin is hard to locate, but we believe that it was developed from the phrase ‘kick the bucket’.

Bucket lists became known following the 2007 film, Bucket List, this was about two terminally ill men who went on a road trip and ticked off everything they wanted to do before they died.

Occasionally peoples’ bucket lists have been widely known. The story of Matt Greenwood, who was given a terminal diagnosis at 21, wrote a widely publicised list of goals. His friends then raised more than £56,000 to help him complete them.

The effect of creating a bucket list when you approach the end of life is largely unknown, but some conclusions can be drawn from current evidence that people have discussed about their own experiences.

Research has shown that developing goals for a person who knows that they are dying can give them hope and affirm the value that their lift still has, even when it’s limited in time and potential.

Bucket lists have been widely publicised, a doctor from Huddersfield, who was 30 when we was diagnosed with terminal cancer, developed her own bucket list and created a website to help others do the same. She felt that her list offered a host of benefits including motivation, positive focus and romance. Her advice was to keep it simple as well as include activities that may seem inconsequential to others, but were important to her and her husband. Since then, bucket lists have wide social benefits than for the person alone.

Unintended Consequences

There’s some evidence that bucket lists can have unintended consequences. Observational research that’s been conducted in a hospice has shown that whilst attention was given to big-bucket-list-type activities, like getting married, smaller day-to-day activities could easily be missed. Focusing on large and more significant things can lead to a loss of focus on everyday opportunities.

There’s evidence that in some cases, enthusiastic completion of bucket list activities can lead to premature death. Perhaps the real worth of bucket lists isn’t the activities, experiences or goals themselves, but the hopes, values and motivations that lie behind them.

 

FAQs

What should I put on my bucket list?

A bucket is a list of things that someone would like to do before they ‘kick the bucket’. Why this may seem depressing and morbid to some people, it’s important to have a bucket list, they can help you to think about what you want to achieve, what you want out of your life and they can also motivate you to leave about how you can make your dreams come true. Should you require some help to get your bucket list started, here are some ideas – places you would like to go, things you would like to do and anything else that you wish to achieve.

What is a bucket list?

You will have heard people mention their ‘bucket list’ before, maybe they have been talking about things they would like to do or places they would like to visit. Some people may discuss their bucket list ideas on social media or on blogs, the definition of ‘bucket list’ is a list of experiences that someone would like to have before they ‘kick the bucket’.

What are the top things to include on a bucket list?

There are many things that can be included on your bucket list, some can be things that are personal to you, while some may be things that a lot of people dream of doing or experiencing. Some of the most common items included on a bucket list are falling in love, changing someone’s life for the better, learning to play an instrument, speaking another language, going on safari, riding in a hot air balloon, swimming with dolphins or travelling the world.

How do you make a bucket list?

While there is no right or wrong way to create your bucket list, here are some tips on how to make your own bucket list. First, start with some of the easy things, stuff that you have always said that you wanted to do, you can always go back to the things that you wanted to do when you were younger. You can also consider adding more generic bucket list items if they’re important to you too, for example ‘swimming with dolphins’. You can also add any random things that you think you’d like to do and also an overall experience that you would like to feel. Some people may ask friends or family for their own ideas. You can decide the most important things and add them to the top of your bucket list if you like.

Where should I put my bucket list?

You can be more traditional and write your bucket list down, however you don’t have to do this, it’s up to you. You can always store your bucket list in your head, you may not remember everything but you’ll be able to add things and remove them as you wish.