Plan for the future to feel good now
Are you too busy or too broke to get away with your bride right now? “Right now” could be this week or this month or the next two years. Here is a “trick” to help you both feel better – plan a future date or trip.
According to Shawn Achor (who I have mentioned before), anticipation causes pleasure. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn discusses a study in which thinking about watching their favourite movie raised people’s endorphin levels by 27% (endorphins are natural feel good opioids). In fact, anticipating future rewards can light up the brain’s pleasure centres as much as the actual rewards do. Achor suggests tone way to boost mood when you cannot take a trip or go out is to plan something for the future. Be it planning dinner and a movie or a major trip, knowing it is coming makes you feel good – and the further in the future the event is, the longer it will make you feel good.
Of course, you must have, or build, a record of following through on such plans for there to be real anticipation and thus pleasure. Start with some small, short-term things, and work up. As you get the hang of it, start talking about the ultimate vacation the two of you have always dreamed about taking. Even if it is a decade or more away, discuss it, research it, plan it repeatedly, and enjoy every minute of it. You could well get more pleasure out of years of anticipation than the trip – even if you enjoy the trip a great deal!