Few days bring as much anticipation as Christmas Eve, especially for children who lie awake at night, waiting to get up at the crack of dawn to tear open their presents under the Christmas tree. The truth is that anticipation is a big part of fun for everyone.
Pleasant anticipation is an important source of happiness. Having something to look forward to makes us feel good and creates a healthy atmosphere based on positive expectations.
There are four key stages we experience when we enjoy an event:
1. Anticipation (looking forward to the moment)
2. Savoring (enjoying the moment)
3. Expression (sharing the moment with others)
4. Reflection (looking back on the moment — enhanced when you capture it with pictures, videos, mementos, or journal/diary entries)
Having something to look forward to brings happiness into our lives even before an event actually takes place. In fact, sometimes the happiness in anticipation is greater than the happiness actually experienced in the moment — in Latin this is called memoria praeteritorum bonorum, which means “the memory of the good pasts.”
Anticipation requires having something happy in your future to long for. When you look at your schedule for the next week, month, or year, are there things that you can look forward to with pleasure? If the answer is no, then I challenge you to pencil in something that you will anticipate with joy and gladness. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and have a safe and happy New Year! Onward and upward!
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