Anticipation is the beautiful ability to embody the feeling of excitement. Being excited about something implies you’re looking forward to some event in the future.
But if you’re not careful, anticipation can become anxiety pretty quickly.
We want to fully embrace the excitement without surging into wishful thinking, where we wish time would pass faster so we can “get there.” Because wishing we could be there now, projecting ourselves into the future, triggers something else in the brain…
Detail and planning mode erupt. This is where we lose track of time, drop out of excitement and into “worry.” And as soon as that happens, our cortisol spikes. We start to suppress melatonin. The next thing you know, you’re stressed and losing sleep over the thing you were looking forward to five minutes before.
The fix is to be in anticipation — and stay there.
When you notice your mind start to wish for the exciting thing to be here now. infuse that with faith and patience – and appreciation. That brings about a happy hormonal cocktail that nourishes your body, increases your energy and magnifies your radiance.
And that? Pretty much ensures an even more amazing experience when the thing you were looking forward to finally arrives.
It also helps you detach. Finding the joy in the moment and experiencing how good anticipation feels now is a choice. This is where you rely less on external events to “bring you joy.”
Living in the moment, choosing to happily anticipate – rather than plan and worry – brings deeper contentment and lasting health. And keeps anxiety at bay.
Here’s are three simple tips to implement this every day:
1- Savor the knowing. Choose right now, firmly, that you know the thing you want is indeed coming. Release yourself from it by saying, “The time will pass anyway because that is what time does. So how do I want to FEEL right now? Icky or awesome?” The answer will be “Awesome.” So what’s one thing you can do RIGHT NOW to feel awesome?
2- Pick one thing. “Don’t miss dusk.” I love this so much because, no matter where I am, when the sun sets, I stop. I sigh and BE. I notice the details – the colors of the sky, the direction of the breeze, the smell of night. I feel my body and picture the melatonin starting to rush in. Silent mind. Even if it’s just 30 seconds, it’s magic.
3- Create your “relax” list. Make a list of several things you truly enjoy. Whatever makes you smile and feel good. Once you have a list, ask yourself every morning, “what is my heart’s intention for today to best support myself?” Refer to the list and pick one thing that jumps out. Here is the key: DO IT. And do nothing else. Use the tip from my dusk example. BE in the moment. If your mind starts to chatter, comfort it with the simple phrase, “I hear you and I will tend to you later.” Then tap back in be here now, in the details of your favorite thing.
All of the above helps by…
– Strengthening your prefrontal cortex. One reason it matters: Among other functions, your prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision-making. More clarity means more efficiency. You just bought yourself more time to get more done.
– Regulating your HPA-axis. This is the way your brain communicates with your adrenal glands. And the better they are at relaying info, the better you can handle stress.
– Stimulating the release of dopamine. This is a feel-good chemical that gives you a sense of achievement and reward. It helps you feel euphoric. You crave it like a drug. So if you engage in healthy behaviors like going for a walk, listening to great music or checking out an art exhibit (for me, it’s baking), and you’re fully engaged in the moment, then you firmly set the neural pathway that this makes you feel good – and you will naturally seek more of it. You show up in support of your best health — no forcing required.
You have NOW created a healthy addiction. From this place, you actually train your brain to go on autopilot. It’s always looking for the path of least resistance in an effort to conserve energy. Instead of unconsciously reaching for cookies you automatically crave a good walk in the fresh air. T Cool, right?
This is just one of many ways to “train” your body to be fit, boost immunity, remove toxins increase metabolism and on and on… Before you even workout or check your meal plan.
P.S. This is the kind of deep cellular work I do every day.
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