Unlocking the Joy of Anticipation

Numerous studies show that having something to anticipate improves your mood and reduces stress. It can boost motivation, optimism, and patience while also lowering irritation. Many small things can make you happy. Anticipating a sprinkling of tiny, good experiences can be just as pleasurable as anticipating a single large one. 

Picture Yourself in the Future

According to research, planning for “future you” can improve your well-being and help you get out of the habit of short-term thinking. Daydreaming about your future self is enjoyable, but the practical tasks required to get there can be daunting. For example, while going to see your provider for preventative care may be time consuming and scary, your future self will be grateful for that time you’ve saved in an early diagnosis or even complete prevention of a life-threatening disease. The best way to start is to begin by identifying the things in life that are most important to you, and then create goals around them. Always keep in mind that end goal and remember the feeling of accomplishment as you progress by setting smaller stepping stone goals.

Reward and Incentivize Yourself

Find ways to incorporate items and experiences you do enjoy into the task at hand. You may not be excited about completing the presentation at work tomorrow, but the chance to go and buy a new outfit to present in may be the spark that carries you to the finish line. Motivating yourself with rewards and other incentives and associating them with tedious tasks can make the journey sweeter.

Accepting Nervousness with the Excitement

Anticipatory anxiety is the polar opposite of joyful expectation, and the amazing thing is that they frequently occur together.  The trick is identifying the happy, good element of what you're doing combined with the worrying feelings. For example, you being nervous about an upcoming job interview just means the idea of getting this job is something you truly want and are excited about. It truly makes you feel better when you reframe anxious events as exhilarating.

Create Your Own Anticipation

If you’re in need of a vacation with no scheduled holidays or available time off work coming up, create your own mini vacations on your own! If you enjoy parties, consider how you can create special occasions even when there aren't any planned. Is a friend or relative in need of some fun? Set a day in the week or month where you always get together and share in that interest. It can be as simple as a going to grab dinner after a long work day or planning out a hike together. Just make it something you can look forward to!

 

Source: To Enjoy Life More, Embrace Anticipation

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