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It's true that happiness is in the now, but thinking about positive events you've experienced in the past (and anticipating those you might have in the future) can actually increase your happiness levels in the present moment.

I was reminded of this following a conversation with a friend planning for a forthcoming wedding. He was concerned that all the anticipatory talk would lead to a sense of anti climax when it actually happened. On the contrary, I replied, often all the anticipatory talk adds to the overall enjoyment of the event.

"Savouring past pleasurable experiences boosts your positive emotions in the present, and positive emotions are the key to happiness," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness (Penguin, 2008).

The Happiness Bank
However, this doesn't work if thinking of good times fills you with melancholia because those times are in the past. The key is to tap into the pleasure and good feelings the event provided, not bemoan the fact that the experience is now behind you. I treasure happy moments as they are happening and also metaphorically deposit them in my 'happiness bank'. If you can use all your senses the experience can be even more vivid; conjure up the smells, sounds, sights etc..

And the act of anticipating happy events — even one as seemingly banal as watching a comedy show — can be equally as uplifting. Recent research has even shown that you don't need to actually laugh to reap the effects. People who were planning to watch their favourite comedies had a significant increase in mood-enhancing hormones even before the programme started.

So, if you don't have time today to spend a little time in pleasurable day dreaming, record an episode of your favourite funny show and look forward to watching in the evening!

What's the best memory in your happiness bank?

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jan 19, 2010
    • There are way too many happy moments for me to re tell. But I can honestly say that those happy moments encourage me to create more happy times going forward.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jane Woods wrote Jan 19, 2010
    • Absolutely! I wish you the joy of an infinite number of happy moments!
      [Link Removed]
      estatic


      Changingpeople, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rose Nino wrote Jan 19, 2010
    • Thank you. I love this. Previously, I found it super hard to remember and/or even think of anything happy or positive. I had many health issues and spent most of my time struggling with my health so it was so hard to think of anything positive and/or be happy. Anyway, I’m happy to report that I found a natural approach to my health. And now that I have my health back (and I’m 2 sizes smaller too), I am positive, extremely grateful AND Happier than I have been in a long time.  

      There is much being deposited into my “happiness bank“. heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jane Woods wrote Jan 19, 2010
    • Good for you! That’s a lovely response and I’m glad your happiness bank is in credit!
      Jane



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