Affective forecasting, quite simply, refers to the prediction of one’s future emotions. At times, this can lead us astray, because we can may forecast particularly intense emotions with a long duration, creating a sense of fear and dread. Other times, however, forecasting how we may feel can allow us to imagine how we may cope.
Just as you may look at a weather forecast as you prepare for upcoming event (do I need an umbrella? sunscreen? mittens?), you can do so with an affective/emotional forecast. As you approach say a visit with a critical family member, a historically tense holiday ritual, a visit to the doctor’s office, a project or presentation, etc., consider forecasting your emotions. Could this event bring up stormy emotions of sadness, hurt, anger, may this bring up a tornado of fear, etc.? If so, how could I cope? An honest look at your emotional forecast, if done right, can allow you the chance to cope ahead of time and prepare. This awareness can remind you to make changes so you can feel more protected, grounded, and connected to your center, and can help you connect with your coping skills, social connection, and resources you may need in order to manage.
Take a few breaths and create a weather report for your current emotional landscape. Remember that your emotions are welcome here. You may love a sunny day, but we need rain too. Just like with the weather forecast, we will not always predict our emotions accurately. Often you may feel in the moment different than you expected. That’s ok! Practice greeting all with kindness, curiosity, and acceptance.