When you hear the word, “savoring”, what pops into your mind?Â Food? Happiness? An adventure?
Perhaps you are like many of the folks I coach. You have not given savoring much thought. If so, you are missing out on your best self life experiences. Time to turn on more enjoyment, happiness and appreciation.
Savoring is one of my all-time favorite awe-inspiring activities.
It makes my whole life sparkle with joy and every other positive emotion. But what exactly is savoring?
Positive psychology savoring guru, Fred Bryant, author of the book Savor, along withÂ Joseph Veroff (2007), relates that savoring involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life. The stuff in life that causes you to feel all the positive emotions that fill your life with positivity. Savoring creates positive emotions, amplifies them, and makes them last longer. It is linked to happiness, optimism, self-esteem, and greater life satisfaction. Also, it is emotional armor that protects you against depression and hopelessness. Powerful, this pleasure!
Savoring is the positive counterpart to coping.
Coping deals with methods to deal with adversity. Savoring involves pleasure that enriches your life. But it is much more than pleasure. Savoring gifts you with sinkingÂ blissfullyÂ into your senses. It maximizes good experiences and transforms them into exceptional. Sometimes, itÂ blesses you with meaningful legacies, memories that shine a unique light on your life forever.
Savoring eases your load during life’s tough times, too.
It decreases conflict and may even save your relationship, if you ask the right question: “Honey, do you remember that great time when we…”. You fill in the blank, remembering a terrific time you shared together.Â ReminiscingÂ about your good times helps you re-frame and shift focus. It re-directs you back on track to look for theÂ good, for what is right about your partnership.
Savoring often conjures up a positive story in your life.
Here’s one brief savoring story that sweetly surfaced for me just now.
Many of you who have followed my blog for years (and I savor knowing that and thank you!). You remember all the blogs about my beloved Mom. They were, and still are, my favorite blogs. It warms my heart to know her blogs were also the most popular with you, dear readers. Mom was part of our positive psychology coaching family.Â Three years ago at age 94, she winged her way to the great beyond.
Mom’s legacy to me was a treasure trove of savoring memories. You see her here with her most beloved life blessing, flowers. On her tombstone is etched, “Flowers were her passion.” Years before she died, she would want to go and visit her grave stone so she could savor the green marble etched with flowers. It may seem strange, but Mom was elated when she saw where she would rest with Daddy. Posted here is one her most savored photos. Cheryl Nash, my best buddy in DE, took the photo on Mom’s birthday in 2007, while she still was in great health. Thrilled, Mom laughed and said it was her best birthday gift ever. How we cavorted that day. Sweet savoring.
At age 88, Mom became totally deaf from a medication she did not need for Lyme Disease she did not have (oh, that was hell!), Our daily phone calls ended. Reluctantly, grit in tow, Mom learned to use a computer. She didn’t savor it, but she later realized it would be the key to her savoring.
Mom would get up every morning and immediately go to her computer. We both had a passion for photography, adventure, and flowers. It was my joy to take photos and send her an upbeat batch every morning. I savored that, knowing it would make her smile. A year later, after a cochlear implant, I called her twice at a day. I luxuriated in every minute with her. For years, after Mom broke her leg and needed to live in assisted living, I flew from Wisconsin to Delaware to see her every few weeks. I also savored spending time with my best childhood friend, Cheryl, and her husband, Bob. Their house for many years was my home away from home.
Yes, to be honest, there was also frequent coping involved. I had to leave my dear husband, Ken, fit in work, deal with Mom’s medical concerns, and handle her finances. But savoring with Mom reigned supreme. Mindfulness lightened the load.
It is important to note that my savoring with Mom did not end with her death. Yes, I grieved immensely, and I still do. But savoring puts a smile on my face every time I re-visit memories of Mom. “Legacy” is a key concept to savoring the past.
How can this be? Aren’t we supposed to live in the NOW? This is so cool! Savoring makes you a time-traveler. Savoring occurs in various time frames. Past, present and future are at your savoring fingertips. Which one you focus on grows. People are different regarding their savoring preferences. For Mom, I focus for on our pastfantastic experiences…traveling around the world together, gardening, and trips to Rehoboth Beach to eat Grotto’s pizza. We were like conjoined savoring twins.
Positive reminiscing, re-visiting past pleasures, is an art-form for me.
I treasure looking at photos andÂ mementosÂ that grace me with savoring as well as fun flow. But I also love savoring in the “now”, as well as looking forward to newÂ adventures. Heck, I savor all day long. It gently infiltrates positive emotion into my whole day. Yes, I deal with crap as do you, but savoring takes me back to positivity. It is a sweet habit. A ticket to well-being and happiness. A way to live “the good life”.
Maybe you enjoy savoring more in the present.
Have you ever closed your eyes and totally enjoyed slowly eating your favorite desert, that very first bite? Stretching out the joy of delicious textures and flavors. Seeing how long you could make that first bite folly last. Try it. See how much more you enjoy your experience.
Or maybe you love toÂ anticipate, plan and think about aÂ future pleasure.
You bask in the excitement of an adventure you will experience later on. You savor all the planning and get stoked by imagining upcoming thrills. It takes visioning to new heights.
I remember savoring every moment when I knew I was going to sit on the same bench my mom sat on at the Taj Mahal in India. I had looked forward to this day for decades. Over a year ago, I presented a keynote in India. This gave me the opportunity. I spread some of Mom’s ashes there at “our” bench. I sat into my feelings. It was as if time stood still. Later on the trip,Â I was blessed with a ceremony on the Ganges River. I sat in the small boat mesmerized, as I watched Mom’s ashes gently float away upon her favorite orange marigolds. I know Mom savored that in Heaven.
On that same trip, I visited with our adopted Hari Aryal family in Nepal.Â Our families are united by savoring life’s little things. One day I emailed Hari to ask him, “If you could have any gift in the world, what would you want?” Poignantly, family-focused Hari wrote, “It is my fondest dream to talk to Grammy on Skype.” With his resources soÂ extremelyÂ limited, he did not want a thing. He wanted to speak to his American grandmother!
When Har’s dream came true, he said he would treasure that day forever. Simple pleasures, but sometimes they are joyfully tattooed onto our souls. Seeing Hari’s and Mom’s grins while talking lit up my universe that day. They still do.
Hari honored Mom in Nepal. He blessed her with a ceremony as more of her ashes united in the Ganges River in Nepal. Mom was still traveling! Actually, she goes with me in a little pouch wherever I go. Our journey will not end until I join her in the hereafter. Savoring in Heaven, how’s that for anticipatory savoring?!
You’ve read savoring stories. Hope they help you conjure up your own.
But how can you make savoring a well-being habit?
Here is what you need to know and do:
~ Mindfulness is important for experiencing present pleasures to keep attention focused. Be aware.
~ Mindfulness enhances and promotes savoring. It give youÂ conscious attention to the experience of pleasure.
~ Focus on what you want to savor. Make it intentional. Linger in the positive emotions of your experience.
~ Change up the way you focus, be it past, present or future. Your brain habituates to your positive feelings. Variety re-energizes savoring.
~ Use all your senses, not necessarily at the same time. Choose one and sink into that experience.
~ Practice savoring. Developing a new habit takes attention and time. What a great positivity routine!
~ Let go of perfectionism. It dampens the positivity effects of savoring. Just do and be enough.
~ Learn to savor vicariously. Enjoy another person’s pleasure. Relationships are joyfully enhanced and solidified when life is savored together. This is especially so when good news is shared. It’s powerful in making love last. It also promotes trust, couple well-being, and even longevity. Relationships rock when you savor together! Want more? See my relationship book on my website for 140 positive psychology two-some tips.
Want to dive in deeper?
To add to the savoring fun, here are a few specific methods by which you can savor to elevate and regulate moreÂ positive emotions and actions:
Marveling regulates awe.
Thanksgiving regulates gratitude.
Basking regulates pride.
Luxuriating regulates physical pleasure.
Great news! There are many cool ways you can practice savoring.
According to savoring expert, Fred Bryant, here are 10:
1.Â Capitalize your experiences. Share your good feelings/experiences with others.
2.Â Take a mental picture in your mind’s eye. This enables you to more easily remember it later.
3.Â Revel in your successes. Really celebrate to anchor that memory. Do an activity to help you re-live it later. I flew in a small plane the day my first book was published.
4.Â Pay attention to your senses (I know I mentioned it above, but it is worth repeating!)
5.Â Laugh out loud! Outwardly express your emotions. Yell to the heavens. Do a selfie or get a friend to take your photo having fun.
6.Â Compare good feelings with unpleasant ones. This helps remind you of your joy and other positive emotions.
7.Â Stop multi-tasking. Focus on one positive feeling experience at a time. Sit into that emotion.
8.Â Be grateful. Appreciate what is good. Express it. “Thank everyone for everything.”Chris Peterson.
9.Â Look, even search, for the good, the positives, especially when times are challenging. Quit being a Negative Nellie. Perfectionism squashes savoring.
10. Remind yourself, “Good moments like this pass away all too quickly, so all the more reason to enjoy them now!”
Savoring… who knew it was so vital to your overall meaning, happiness and well-being?
And how a habit of savoring may add more joyful years to your life. It’s purposeful positivity that ignites your living your best self good life!
When you read this article, I wonder what savoring positive reminiscing memoriesÂ sparked your joy. Or what you are anticipating. Or what at this very secondyou might be savoring. Maybe it is new learning from this blog! Past, present and future savoringÂ add to your positive resonance and broaden and build your positivity (Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson).
I encourage you, the next time you are with your family and friends, pause. Notice what you are enjoying. Tune in and really appreciate it. Take purposeful stock of all your positive emotions. Verbalize your happiness. Laugh out loud. Know how blessed you are.
Put on your savoring super cape, and keep it on! Multiply your fun. Gift a super cape to people you love, too.Â Savoring will keep you flying high on life!
Big hugs of appreciation,
PS. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Hope it blesses you with new green memories you savor now and later on. Always appreciate your journeys down life’s shimmering shamrock pathways. May your life be filled with rainbows and pots of golden positivity!