Have you ever noticed that the anticipation you may feel for a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas can often be a much more enjoyable experience than your memory of the holiday itself?
That’s not because your turkey wasn’t cooked to perfection or your cousin gave you socks. Research has found that anticipating events brings joy, even more so than when you remember the actual event!
Putting something on the calendar, whether it’s five months out or for a dinner reservation next week can increase positive emotion, especially in the face of stress.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. It can be something like playing a card game or getting to watch an episode of your favorite show after work. Just the mere anticipation of a positive event in your future can trigger positive emotions.
So while you may think that you don’t have time for enjoyment while you are feeling stressed, it’s actually the most important time to have something on the calendar to look forward to. Participants in a study who were feeling stressed just had to anticipate being able to view funny cartoons after their stressful event for them to feel better.
No one likes to feel stressed, but there’s also an important health reason to decrease your stress long-term. Feeling stressed for months on end can increase your risk for things like depression, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports. Having tools to manage this stress, like something to look forward to, can help us stay healthy and happy for years to come.
Anticipating something good can also decrease the amount we spend on or covet material goods, like the latest piece of technology or new clothes. That’s because research has found that looking forward to events brings more enduring happiness than receiving material goods.
Waiting for an event to happen, such as a dinner party with friends, brings people more positive emotions than waiting for a possession, such as your new smartphone, to arrive.
So for the health of yourself, your friends, and your family, put something on the calendar. All you have to do next is wait!
Questions about health insurance? Contact a Sea Mountain Health Insurance Specialist today!