Do you know the benefits of positive anticipation, a natural stress reliever available to everyone?

“Embrace the present moment” we are told when we start to psycho or philosophize about our future. If many agree that to enjoy life is to live the moment T, science and psychologists have a different discourse. Because anticipating would, in fact, be one of the keys to our psychic balance.

According to several studies, including the one published in the Sage Journals in 2014, positive anticipation would even have effects on reducing stress and managing moods, because it would be more satisfying than the action to come.

As a reminder, this ability to “make decisions while being able to foresee its consequences both temporally and spatially” goes hand in hand with our thinking, encompassing “the ability to predict the impact of our actions on our environment, on the follow-up to be given to our activities and on our behavior”, notes The Conversation.

And when tamed and used positively, it can do wonders to ease our mental health.

“Imagining good things makes us feel better in the moment. When positive, it can increase motivation, optimism, and patience, while decreasing irritability,” explains Simon Rego, psychologist at Montefiore Medical Centerto New York Times.

Differentiate between negative and positive anticipation

But before looking at its benefits, it is necessary to differentiate expectations. “The one we know the most about is negative anticipation”, tells us France Bracard, psychotherapist.

This generally gangrenes our brain, which is not a great lover of the unexpected. “It depends on the personalities, but often, we tend to imagine the worst more than the best and to be hyper-vigilant“, underlines the specialist.

Making films, asking ourselves “what if it happened like that?”, therefore conditions our brain to prepare for the worst. Thinking we are prepared for the affront, it is nevertheless stress that we add to ourselves before important events. “Many people are the target before leaving on vacation,” says the specialist.

But sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the two, as anxiety and excitement are “sister emotions”. “Think about when you get married or have your first child. It’s a mixture of the two”, illustrates Dr. David Waugh to New York Times.

However, positive anticipation even has a name: nexting. But have no fear, if you are a follower of its opposite, specialists indicate that there is no fatality. These habits can be easily reversed. Research suggests that “when you re-evaluate anxious things as exciting, it makes you feel better about them,” the doctor continues.

The importance of being enthusiastic about the little things

But there is no need to wait for these milestones to benefit from the benefits of anticipation. Hoping for small pleasures can also sweeten our daily lives and replace stress with excitement..

“At the end of each day, write down one thing you’re excited for tomorrow. Maybe it’s a new book or donuts or a package you’re expecting,” advises Carrie Wyland, psychologist at Tulane University (New Orleans)still with the American newspaper.

Beyond calming greater apprehensions, these are concrete examples that prove to our brain that waiting to reap benefits is always rewarded.

“When traveling, it works very well, we think about the visits we are going to make, the restaurants we are going to discover… It helps to appreciate even more and to inhibit the fear of the unexpected”, adds France Bracard.

A mechanism that activates the reward system

This well-being habit is reminiscent of the visualization process taken up by the law of attraction or subliminal messages. By imagining ourselves in a future situation, we condition our brain to “pre-experience the thing”, to connote it positively and perhaps even to manifest it..

But beyond its questionable “magical” function, it is above all a tool that allows us to set objectives to achieve an anticipated desire (learning a language, an instrument, a sport, etc.).

And sometimes, damaged by demotivation, anticipation needs a boost. The reward then kicks in.”There are situations that require an object of anticipation. Let’s say you have a work presentation that makes you nervous. If you also have a new outfit that you can’t wait to wear, you’re going to expect it more,” says Dr Rego.

Learn to practice nexting

And this mechanism is accessible to all. your. It can be put together with just a little cognitive gymnastics. Especially since the brain excels in simulation and the key to positive anticipation is mental imagery.

In his work The 4 seasons of good humor (Ed. JC Lattes), Michel Lejoyeux gives a guide to nexting – which is not innate, reminds the writer.

“To start working on your positive anticipation and your image production, choose the theme that suits you best between work, holidays, love or friendship. The sequence you are going to visualize must be colorful, lively. You will play an important and sympathetic role there. By imagining your vacation, running on a sunny beach, you will surprise yourself. Pretty soon, you’re really there. You sweat and manage to hear the sea in the middle of your living room”, he illustrates.

A method which may seem simplistic but which has been tested by science. In a 2010 study, a team of New Zealand researchers compared the endorphin levels of two groups. The first is going on vacation in the near future and the second is not. But both must anticipate this trip, whether it exists or not.

The result is clear: after anticipation, all had elevated happiness hormone levels. And, when they returned from vacation, the first group did not have a different endorphin level than the other (they were just more relaxed).

So, practice the nexting is not confined only to the things that we anticipate in reality. Predicting and sensing a situation would have the same effect as experiencing it. “It’s one of the least known ways to de-stress. Yet when anticipation is integrated as a habitual reaction, it can work wonders on our mental health,” concludes the study.

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Do you know the benefits of positive anticipation, a natural stress reliever available to everyone?

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