Focusing on The Good Things in Life by Savoring and Gratitude — WellnessMind

We can rewire our habits by focusing on the good things in life. All we need is to make a habit of practicing gratitude and savoring.

Often, we fail to stay in the moment and really enjoy what we’re experiencing. Savoring intensifies and lengthens the positive emotions that come with doing something you love. For the next seven days, you will practice the art of savoring by picking one experience to truly savor each day. It could be a nice shower, a delicious meal, a great walk outside, or any experience that you really enjoy. When you take part in this savored experience, be sure to practice some common techniques that enhance savoring. These techniques include sharing the experience with another person, thinking about how lucky you are to enjoy such an amazing moment, keeping a souvenir or photo of that activity, and making sure you stay in the present moment the entire time. Every night make a note of what you savored (Note: you can make a list in a notebook, use a notes app on your phone, use a calendar, or whatever works for you!). When you do write things down at the end of the day, be sure to take a moment to remember the activity.

First off, what is savoring?

Well, it’s just the simple act of stepping out of your experience, to review it, and really appreciate it while it’s happening.

Why should we take time to savor?

It turns out savoring can boost our mood in at least three ways. First, savoring can thwart hedonic adaptation. It can make us remember the good stuff in life. Second, savoring can help thwart mind wandering. It keeps us in the moment. And finally, savoring can help us increase gratitude. It can make us thankful for the experiences we’re having as we’re having them.

How do we make the most of the savoring activity?

You just have to take part in a positive experience, and then you have to savor during that experience. Take a second to realize why it makes you happy. You can use your phone to help you by taking a picture which will help you remember it later. Then track what you savored today. As we’ve seen, tracking can help turn savoring in one moment into a habit. So get out there and savor something good. Go out and really enjoy the best things in life.

Why is savoring the key to happiness?

Too often we let the good moments pass without truly celebrating them. Maybe your friend gives you a small gift, a colleague makes you laugh, or a rainbow stretches across the sky. These are just tiny moments, and the positive emotions associated with them fade . . . but they don’t have to. We just have to savor them.

Savoring just means that we attempt to fully feel, enjoy, and extend our positive experiences. Savoring is a great way to develop a long-lasting stream of positive thoughts and emotions, because positive events cannot always be relied on to make you happier.

1. Savor the past

Savoring the past is perhaps the easiest way to practice savoring. To do it, just spend a few minutes thinking about a happy, joyful, or pleasant event that happened to you in the last week or month. For example, you could think about “hanging out with friends, or completing an important project.” As you are thinking back on the pleasant event, think about the people, smells, sounds, physical sensations, and sights that you experienced. Think about — and try to re-create — the positive emotions that you felt around the time of the event. As you are savoring, let your thoughts wander to anything else about the happy experience that makes you feel good. Then, just mentally hold on to whatever feels good. Take a deep breath, and pay attention to how these emotions feel in your body. Let the emotions fade on their own, until you are ready to go back to whatever else you were doing.

2. Savor the present

Are you that person who stops to notice and appreciate the small pleasures that life has to offer? If not, then you could benefit from practicing savoring the present. You do this by paying attention any time you experience something positive. Whenever you notice yourself feeling good, mentally hold on by thinking about the positive emotions and what caused them. You may want to also practice gratitude, reminding yourself that you are grateful for whatever or whoever caused these positive emotions.

3. Capitalize on the present

To savour your positive emotions even longer, show it, tell it, or share it with others right away. Keep in mind that the positive thing that happens doesn’t have to be big. You could simply have woken up on the right side of the bed and think, “Hey, I’m feeling great today.”

  • “Show it” by expressing the positive emotions in your facial expressions and body language. For example, you could smile, laugh, or throw your hands up in the air. These expressions of happiness can help prolong the feelings.
  • “Tell it” by talking to someone about why you’re happy. You might call or text a friend to talk to the people around you about what you’re feeling. Others tend to respond well to expressions of positive emotions, which can further generate more positive emotions for you.
  • “Share it” by sending a text message or posting kindly on social media. If there is something you are feeling great about, particularly something you think would make others feel great too, share it far and wide with a post. Just be careful not to post things that might make other people feel worse (like if you got something that someone else wanted).

4. Savor the future

Did you know we often experience positive emotions when we strive for a goal, even before we have achieved that goal? That’s right. How? By using imagination to increase happiness. For example, you might be looking forward to a situation. If so, you could practice savouring by thinking about and visualize what you’ll do, who will be there, and the positive emotions you hope to feel. As a result, you’ll generate positive emotions from an event that hasn’t even happened yet.

Daily Gratitude Journal

Gratitude is a positive emotional state in which one recognizes and appreciates what one has received in life. Research shows that taking time to experience gratitude can make you happier and even healthier. For the next seven days, you will take 5–10 minutes each night to write down fivethings for which you are grateful. They can be little things or big things. But you really have to focus on them and actually write them down (Again, try to develop a tracking method works for you and utilize a note on your phone, a daily calendar, a special notebook, etc). You can just write a word or short phrase, but as you write these things down, take a moment to be mindful of the things you’re writing about (e.g., imagine the person or thing you’re writing about, etc.). This exercise should take at least five minutes. Do this each night for the whole week.

Why gratitude?

The simple act of experiencing gratitude has a host of positive benefits. Experiencing gratitude can increase your mood and lower your stress levels. It can even strengthen your immune system and lower your blood pressure. Experiencing gratitude also can make you feel a stronger social connection, which itself has this whole host of positive benefits. And so how do we make the most of this activity? Well if you’re new to this habit, just start by writing things down that you’re grateful for. You can also use the app to take a picture of the kinds of things you’re thankful for. As you write and take your photos, really take a moment to try to experience the gratitude you’re thinking about. And as usual, do it over time. Use the app to make it happen. So, get out there and feel some things for all the wonderful things in your community and in your life.

The Power of Gratitude — Robert Emmons

Book recommendation: Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

Originally published at http://www.wellnessmind.co on October 13, 2020.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store