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  • Writer's pictureEmma Coyle

'Looking forward' or 'dreading' what's to come - The Curious World of Anticipatory Thinking...

Hands up those of you who are looking forward to Christmas....Only 20 days to go!

Perhaps some of you will respond "I can’t wait, I’m really looking forward to it,” whilst others might be more of the “I’m dreading it. I don’t know how I’ll get through it” camp. Whichever side of the fence you fall, these are all examples of anticipatory thinking i.e. expressing what we are really feeling about a future event.

Anticipatory thinking is a powerful force, with the ability to either lift out spirits (by reminding us that we have something to 'look forward' to) or to steady our nerves and resolve in preparation for a difficult or painful event such as redundancy or friends moving away.

The 'looking forward' can free us from the problems of our present - with the promise of comfort, happiness and relaxation just around the corner. This has the effect of helping us to 'keep on going' even when times feel hard.

So how to practice anticipatory thinking? Here are a few tips:

Research in advance - increase the excitement of an event by doing some research around the event - take a look at the restaurant menu, find out what there is to see in the part of town you are visiting

Reclaim your lunch break - try doing something different at lunchtime, whether going to a sandwich bar you’ve not been to before, to wandering down streets you don’t know. Having something different to look forward to will lift your spirits as you work through your morning

Make exciting plans - regularly put things in the diary that you can look forward to, a mix of smaller and bigger activities, ones that you can do a short time for now and ones that you will have to wait longer for

Savour each event - take time to enjoy the before, during and after of your treat, even if it's only having a bar of chocolate. Give yourself time to enjoy the treat without interruption and afterwards think about the pleasure you got from it

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