Look forward to something

Last night I read a really interesting article. The author talked about the importance of looking forward to something. Anything.

It’s no surprise that when you’re excited and anticipating something big and wonderful, you’re generally happier. That big vacation coming up? Christmas? Time with family? These sorts of major events tend to help people feel less stressed as they focus less on the frustration and challenges of the present, and think instead about how nice that event is going to be. In fact, studies have shown that the anticipation of something good can aid in stress relief as much as– or even more than– the event itself.

But, argues the author, it doesn’t have to be something big. Those big things only come around every few months or years, and although they have a powerful effect, their very rarity means the stress relief is also fleeting. Instead, it can be valuable to look forward to something small. Something mundane. Something that brings a moment of joy but happens much more often.

For me, it might be lunch at Rosa’s. Or relaxing in the hot tub. Or watching a sunset from the front porch. None of these require planning, nor are they limited to every now and then. But simply thinking about them, anticipating the joy they’ll bring, can provide immediate relief from stress and anxiety. I tend to be a pretty low-stress low-anxiety person anyway, and as I read this article I wondered if perhaps I’ve been practicing this little trick without really being aware of it.

In any case, I’ve decided I’m going to give some thought each day to one thing I’m looking forward to that day.