Savouring is a way to make the most out of pleasant experiences. In other words, it’s like milking these experiences for all they are worth, so to speak. It is also a way to counterbalance that human tendency to focus on all of the negatives in our life as opposed to the positives.
Savouring practices are closely related to gratitude practices. They help us move away from taking pleasures for granted. As with gratitude, savouring is about pausing to really feel and appreciate pleasurable experiences (a form of mindfulness). One researcher (Bryant) beautifully describes it as taking the pleasurable moment and “swishing it around in your mind.” Said otherwise, it is bringing conscious or deliberate attention to pleasurable moments in your day. How much attention you ask? You can make a difference for yourself in as little as 2 minutes per day! Who doesn’t have just 2 extra minutes to spare?!
How can you incorporate savouring into your day?
Share your savouring experience with someone. This can be a literal sharing or even just imagining sharing it with someone. Savouring together builds relationships as well as boosting your happiness and sense of well-being.
Self-congratulation. Yes, exactly as it sounds. Compliment yourself on an achievement. Big or small! This allows you to take the time to feel good about an accomplishment.
Comparison. We tend to savour an experience even more when we think about how it might never have happened. This is also true when an experience is better than it was the last time or when we look at the outcome and reflect on the bad things that could have happened.
Absorption. Practice savouring your first cup of coffee/tea, your first bite, etc. Close your eyes and focus on this and nothing else. If food doesn’t do it, savour a piece of music or watch something that moves you. You can even take a ‘savouring walk’ and take in all that you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch along the way. Ahem, the fancy terminology for this is sensory-perceptual sharpening which is when we engage our senses with sights, sounds, smells, tastes or touch.
Still not convinced? Here are some examples of how to savour moments in your day:
“I loved that latte! I’m going to send a quick text to my best friend and suggest they check it out.”
“Wow, these waterproof boots really are waterproof. My feet and I are very happy about this.”
“I think I handled that meeting really well. I am getting really good at talking to doctors.”
“I’m just going to take a moment and really enjoy this cup of tea.”
“I love the feeling of this warm water from the shower.”
“I am going to read that story that really made me laugh to the person I am caring for.”
Psst! Bryant, one of the leading researchers on savouring, says that this is the glue that bonds people together. It makes sense doesn’t it? We love to share good news with people that matter to us. So, keep doing it!
By developing a habit of savouring, you can maximize the positive effects and benefits of the pleasant experiences and moments you have in a day. Again, you don’t have to be elaborate or especially creative in how you savour… it’s more about just doing it.
Realistically, there is some good to be savoured in every day, even if it is crawling into bed, savouring the fact that the day is over!