Top Secret Trip blog
November 3, 2016
Take a minute and think about the best day of your life. If the day you picked was an obvious choice, like a milestone including your graduation, wedding, birth of a child, or something else of the sorts, pick the next best day. Now think more about the day that you chose. What was so great about that day? Leading up to that day, did you know, or even have the slightest idea that it was going to become the best day of your life? My guess is probably not.
There is something about planning and setting expectations that leaves people slightly unsatisfied. Take New Year’s Eve for example. People spend weeks, even months making their New Year’s plans, and very rarely does it turn out to be the best day they have had all year, even if the night goes flawlessly. Why is it that the best days tend to be more random? Days that we didn't have plans, but ended up having a blast. Days that we couldn't necessarily pinpoint on a calendar, but we will remember forever.
The reasoning behind this might be as simple as the element of surprise. "The brain's pleasure centers are more 'turned on' when we experience unpredictable pleasant things, compared to expected pleasant events." It makes sense when you think about it. It's why getting flowers on a random Tuesday is a hundred times better than getting them on Valentine’s Day. Research shows that surprises intensify our emotions by about 400%.
How can we take this information and use it to our full advantage?
1. Stop making so many plans! Now, I'm not suggesting you abandon planning all together. Just don't fill your entire schedule with plans. Leave some time open for unexpected adventures and go with the flow.
2. Buy a Jack-in the Box for your kid.
3. Surprise other people. Take your lover somewhere special, just because. Plan that surprise party for your friend's 27th birthday. Buy a coffee for the stranger behind you in line. The joy that you bring to others is the joy that comes back to you.
If you want the surprise of a lifetime (and all the emotions that go along with it) take a Top Secret Trip! We already know that vacations increase happiness, so based off the research above, a surprise vacation will pretty much increase your happiness by 400%.
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