Paris in October

Shortly, one of my best friends is traveling abroad to Paris.  We tend to associate vacationing with the summer months and forget that fall or winter may offer sensory treats not available at other times, like the March I spent in Vienna - crisp, quiet, tourist free and covered with snow!  But I digress.

Why is my friend's October trip so important?  It comes following a year of recovery from death-defying, life-changing illness.  The meaning and anticipated pleasure quotient of this upcoming experience is very high.  During her recuperation many hours were spent in reverie and planning of this trip.  While not for everyone, this long awaited return visit to Paris provided in-the-moment good feelings and, according to neuroscience research, allows brain activity that enhances the sense of well being.  Now, mind you, all this happens without setting one foot on French soil!

What is actually happening while you plan and consider?  *Anticipation of this positive experience enhances mood; *Relaxation occurs the way it might in a guided meditation; *Endorphins increase and neurotransmitters are stimulated which increases good feelings; *Blood pressure may decrease as stress levels are reduced.

These positive effects are possible as long as you are focusing on the pleasure, meaning and other good feelings associated with your trip, free of the hassles that are often present in the actual experience.  Enjoy your anticipation!