“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” ~Nicholas Sparks
In German we have a saying: “Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude!” which means “The greatest joy lies in the anticipation.” And isn’t it true that sometimes we look forward to seeing good friends, going on vacation, or enjoying a special meal or dessert, and just thinking about it makes us feel good?
Some kids are really good at this – they might literally jump up and down in anticipation of a birthday party or Christmas! And Rafa, our doggie, will excitedly wag his tail and have a hard time sitting still when he expects that he is getting a treat.
Research confirms there is truth to this. In the Netherlands, researchers studied 1,530 people and found that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, simply anticipating the vacation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.
How can we apply that principle in our life? If we know that anticipation is an important part of happiness, then we can make sure we plan something to look forward to. I am anticipating quality time with friends and our upcoming dance show, and I think I will go off now and plan our next trip! What are you looking forward to?