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The secret of “Vorfreude”: 7 incredibly easy ways to be joyful this spring

Category: News

You’ve likely heard of the German term “Schadenfreude”, meaning “to take delight in another’s misfortune”. It’s something we’ve all been guilty of from time to time.

But another German word, translating as the “anticipation of joy”, could be a better concept to take into our daily lives.

“Vorfreude” describes the moments of joy we feel in the days, weeks, or even months building up to an important event. That might be a meal with friends, a concert, or a family holiday.

It makes sense, then, that you can increase the Vorfreude in your life by filling your calendar with as many joyful future experiences as possible. The more you have to look forward to, the more joyfully you can live in the present.

And while it might not be possible to fill your year with once-in-a-lifetime holidays, or expensive meals out, there are plenty of simple steps you can take now.

Here are just seven of them.

1. Look for joy in your daily routine

The easiest way to increase your anticipation of exciting events is to find joy in the things you already do every day.

Rather than eating a hasty breakfast on the run, plan your morning meal the night before and take the time to really enjoy it. You might find a book or podcast that piques your interest and read, or listen to it on your daily commute. A relaxing pre-bed routine, like a bath or a spell of mindfulness, could also help.

Building these moments of joy into your routine will help you to experience Vorfreude throughout your working day.

2. Plan joyful experiences then appreciate the moment

Once you have regular joyful experiences planned into your day-to-day life, be sure to enjoy them. Not only that but enjoy the moments leading up to them too.

Whether it’s the moment before a first bite of your breakfast, the second before you open the door for a walk in nature, or the feeling of a new book in your hand before you open it, take a breath, be present in the moment, and be grateful.

3. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself

Finding joy in the everyday is a great way to embrace Vorfreude, but that doesn’t mean you can’t step out of the ordinary too.

Make plans to see friends and to eat meals out, experience culture, and surround yourself with new experiences.

Once these plans are in your diary, allow yourself to look forward to them. It can be easy to always look for negatives:

  • What if it rains?
  • What if my friend has to cancel?
  • What if the event is called off?

But even if these obstacles do arrive, they don’t detract from the joy you felt in the days before the cancellation or thunderstorm. By failing to be optimistic, you’re denying yourself the joy of anticipation. And anyway, there’s always next time!

4. Keep a gratefulness journal

Writing down your plans will help you to think about the specific parts of the experience you’re looking forward to.

Whether you’re visiting a place for the first time, catching up with an old friend after several years, or booking an event you know your child will love, keep a note of it in a journal.

Making a physical log of these things can build excitement and help you to think about the places and people in your life that you’re grateful for.

5. Embrace the joy to be found in nature

From a meditative walk in woodlands to camping under the stars, there are plenty of natural wonders to inspire awe.

Wherever you are, try to be mindful of the natural sights, smells, and sounds all around you. If a walk is part of your daily routine, take special interest in how the landscape changes with the seasons. And when you get home, be sure to write about the experience in your journal.

6. Creativity can spark moments of joy

Being creative can provide moments of calm, concentration, and ultimately joy.

This might mean painting, making music, or writing poetry. You might opt to plan a themed party. This latter choice provides an outlet for your creativity, a future event to look forward to, and has the added benefit of helping your friends build their Vorfreude too.

Even if you haven’t tried art and you don’t play an instrument, trying new things is great for uncovering a buried talent or meeting new people. You might start with a trip to the library to see what areas interest you.

Then add a weekly or monthly class to your diary, and write it in your gratefulness journal.

7. Embrace silence

Vorfreude doesn’t have to be about holidays, parties, and trips to the theatre.

Try embracing silence and stillness at home, rebalancing yourself by concentrating on peace and relaxation.

This might be as simple as an afternoon nap, pre-sleep mindfulness, or setting time aside to launder your sheets, looking forward to the comfort and relaxation of bedtime.

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