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Much of life's bliss is enveloped in expectation, in looking forward to something new. But as soon as that new something happens, we often turn our thoughts ahead to the next expected joy or novelty.
“Having things to look forward to is a major coping strategy. It helps us recover and adapt to stressors.”
This ability is what separates us from most animals.
Our frontal lobe is the one that helps us anticipate and make decisions, and that certainly is a higher-level function. Opposed to this is the emotional part of the brain (the “more primitive” lower brain) which at times can clash with and overwhelm the deliberative brain.
The human brain can concentrate only on a couple things at a time. So, when we have positive anticipatory things in our mind, there is less room for negative thoughts.
The same parts of the human mind that allow people to imagine the future and anticipate happy events are also the ones that allow for worrying and imagining worst-case scenarios.
While these can be helpful in moderate doses, too much worrying can promote anxiety and despair.
Especially in uncertain times, being too wrapped up in future plans and pleasures does not always bring happiness.
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