Using Anticipation for More Happiness – Savoring future events feels good

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

Are you looking forward to a future vacation, a gathering with friends or family, or maybe just a day off to do what you please?  The great thing about an upcoming, fun event is savoring the planning, discussing, and anticipation. The whole experience adds excitement and happiness to our day. 

We just started thinking about going on a backpacking trip in Alaska. We did one 16 years ago but want to go back again and this time take our daughter. Just the thought of the trip brings back great memories, and we’re having lots of fun thinking about and planning for another adventure. 

My husband loves researching different gear and what would be the best and lightest choices. It’s exciting to consider the different places we could include on our trip, like going back to Denali or Fairbanks. There are so many details to think about, and this is part of the fun. 

Savoring future events has been shown to enhance our happiness and wellbeing. The benefits come from not only experiencing positive emotions related to anticipating an upcoming trip or gathering but also noticing and appreciating the feelings. It’s all about enjoying them for a few extra moments so we can get an extra boost in our positivity. “It is like swishing the experience around … in your mind,” says Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago and father of the research on savoring. You can learn more about savoring in this Wikipedia article.

Think about positive events in your future. They could be a dinner with friends next week, a family vacation months from now, or even achieving a long-term goal like graduation, buying a new home, or getting a promotion. Spend a few extra minutes anticipating the fun and excitement.


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a positivity speaker, trainer, author, and founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to teaching organizations and individuals the power of positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.

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