January 26, 2023Mindset

#96: What Are You Looking Forward To?

Back in my high school and university days, I combat the overwhelm that comes with final semesters by closing my eyes and imagining how I would spend my vacation.

Whenever I'm stressed out reviewing for exams or finishing major projects that would make or break my grades, I time-travel in my mind. I visualize all the ways I'll enjoy my break and even plan fun activities to look forward to.

It turns out, expecting positive events does wonders for our mental health.

A study in social psychology found that "anticipating a positive event is uniquely able to induce positive emotions both during and after stress, and that this boost subserves improved coping and recovery."

Looking into the future and expecting positive events to happen can "boost our motivation, optimism, and patience while also decreasing irritability."

Does this mean we have to spend our hard-earned money to cope with stress by booking luxurious vacations to look forward to?

Not at all. To reap the rewards of the power of anticipation, we can think of the little activities that we enjoy and that evoke positive feelings and then book those into our calendar. It can be as simple as trying a new cafe, joining a book club, or finally signing up for the pottery class you've been meaning to try.

Couple this technique with the best-case scenario method when you're feeling extra stressed and see what happens.

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Hi, and thanks for reading! I'm Kishly, cheerleader of creatives and copywriter turned marketing strategist. Bookmark this blog to read my daily atomic posts on creative living, compassionate productivity, lifelong learning, and everything else that fascinates me. Or subscribe to Process, my weekly-ish newsletter for young adults (and the young at heart) in pursuit of wisdom and wonder. ✨

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