Looking Forward to Spring Mental Health (10 Ideas to Anticipate)

Looking forward beautiful flowering trees

Anticipating spring is a familiar practice in Michigan!

I am preparing for the family egg hunt next weekend. An extravaganza that accumulates new participants each year. It means dragging bins of plastic eggs from the attic, buying candy and trinkets, and planning brunch. Looking forward to the gathering of family and friends, children running on the grass, and the inevitable sighting of the “real” Easter Bunny (a mangy marsh hare that forages for seeds beneath my bird feeder) has given me a spring in my step. It is wonderful to have something to look forward to!


Positive Thinking

Whether it is an upcoming vacation, spring in Michigan, or something as simple as a walk in the evening after work, anticipating something positive is good for mental health, especially during difficult times. It can be a positive energizer that counteracts boredom or anxiety. Yes, mindfulness and living in the moment are still important, but anticipating something positive in the future can get us through the humdrum day-to-day and provide happiness, incentive, and hope. Indeed, positive thinking produces positive thinking; we begin to notice opportunities all around us.


“Expecting the forthcoming events allow active preparations in cognitive, affective, and behavioral strategies (), which ensure survival in the changing and potential challenging environment (). Furthermore, the deficits of anticipation of future experience have been associated with extreme low levels of well-being, such as depression.” (Well-being and Anticipation for Future Positive Events: Evidences from an fMRI Study  National Institutes of Health)



Looking Forward to Spring Mental Health

Anyone who lives in Michigan can relate to the benefits of looking forward to spring. It helps to remember that trees bud, flowers bloom, and birds build nests while watching yet another blizzard in March or April! Does it feel like you have nothing to anticipate? Experts say to start by asking yourself, “What am I looking forward to?” Here are ten ideas to get you started:


10 Ideas to Anticipate

  • Think of something fun to do (visit a local petting zoo, go to a movie) and call a friend. Put it on the calendar, which builds anticipation.
  • At work or while doing a task at home, give yourself daily, acheivable benchmarks. Reward yourself afterwards with a walk to the coffee station, or step outside for some fresh air. At the end of the week, treat yourself to something bigger, like a new restaurant or a trip to Lake Michigan.
  • Plan your summer vacation! It does not have to be a tour through the south of France to be exciting to look forward to. Perhaps a staycation “camping trip” in the back yard. Start a text chain or in-person meeting to talk about it.
  • Take care of yourself. Plan a trip to a spa, or give yourself an at-home facial while soaking in a tub. Think about how it will feel to be pampered.
  • Dream about a baby, children, or pets. Anticipate the excitement you will share when you see each other. Buy a small treat and know it is in your pocket or purse and look forward to the happiness it will bring.
  • Throw a party! I can attest to the fact the anticipation will probably be as positive (or more so) than the event itself.
  • Think of something you have always wanted to do. Tap dance? Paint a portrait? Run in a charity race? The initial contact, preparation, and planning will give you a boost.
  • Reach beyond your reality and daydream. Anticipating what something might be like also has benefits. If you are out of ideas for things to look forward to, make something up and think about how it would make you feel if it happened.
  • Schedule a time to do something for someone else. Acts of kindness (and anticipating them) can lead to greater happiness and well-being.
  • Who do you love? Think about them and when you will next make contact. Loving others and feeling loved has a positive effect on mental health!


Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Ready for more ideas on spring mental health? Read these articles on Happiness, Awe, and Positive Thinking:

Gratitude Therapy – Finding Happiness in Recovery/Life

happiness single sunflower


Awe Walks for Mental Health


Why is Positive Thinking So Good For Recovery?

How best thinking helps addicts


after marilyn head shot bio

Marilyn Spiller is a viral writer, recovery coach, and recovery advocate. She is the Marketing Director at Sanford, responsible for written and creative content, website design, new media, promotions, subscriber outreach, and SEO. Excursions Magazine is a particular source of pride; it serves a wide range of readers, and “excursion” has become part of the company vernacular, describing Sanford’s signature experiential outings for those in treatment. She also developed and hosts the podcast Anatomy of Addiction and is Vice President of the Board of JACK Mental Health Advocacy.