Anticipation and Your Thoughts Can Bring Happiness
A while back, I read an article that claimed just planning a vacation could reduce stress and raise your mood even if you never actually took the vacation. I thought that was really interesting. I tried it. I surfed around the internet day-dreaming of where I’d love to go and what I’d do. I closed my eyes and imagined relaxing by a nice pool. Picturing those images in my mind really did feel nice!
Lately, my therapist has encouraged me to make a list of the things I want in life–no matter how big. She says to write them down using happy, descriptive words and to look at my list every morning and night. She told me that reading my list should make me feel good as well as inspired. I’ve read this advice in other places as well. Of course, there is also a theory that we attract the things we think about and many self-help authors have written about it. For example, Wayne Dyer, (one of my favorites,) often approaches this topic.
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Today I was thinking about this theory that just planning a vacation can bring happiness and I tried to find the original article I read. I didn’t find the same one, but I did find this one about the study that supported it. This article also claims that a person gets more peace and happiness from planning the vacation than they get from actually taking it! The study found that people get an average of 8 weeks of happier attitudes while anticipating a vacation, but the results quickly disappeared when the vacation was over.
While searching, I also found many articles about the connection between happiness and anticipation. One claimed that people get just as much happiness from thinking about watching a favorite movie as they did from actually watching the movie! There were several studies indicating that anticipation of good things is a mood-booster.
Just another reminder that we can control our happiness by directing our thoughts towards pleasant topics! I’m off to go think about good things now 🙂