Research suggests, believe it or not, that about 43% of our daily actions are habitual, conducted on autopilot without much conscious thought or effort on our part. This may be an efficient way for the brain to go about the day, but it can be a barrier to experiencing happiness and joy.
To savor something is to go beyond just tasting it. Savoring something is to enjoy it completely, wholeheartedly, and mindfully. Savoring is also a practice from the field of positive psychology that teaches us to experience something delightful by paying single- minded attention to it with our heart, mind, and senses. This practice changes our brain chemistry (the secret to cultivating happiness!) by decreasing cortisol, a stress hormone in the brain, and increasing dopamine and serotonin--"feel good" hormones in the brain.
How does savoring work? Do the 3 A's (Bryant and Veroff, 2007).
Attend: Pay attention to only the experience, nothing else.
Amplify: Enrich the experience by noticing each aspect of it for 5-10 seconds or more.
Absorb: Let it deeply sink in by noticing the enjoyment the experience gives you.
There are 3 types of savoring:
Savoring the past, also known as reminiscing. For example, remembering a lazy, relaxing day on the beach listening to the waves, and how you felt so rested and calm afterwards.
Savoring the present or savoring the moment. For instance, luxuriating in the sun breaking through the clouds and shining down on you, feeling the sun's warmth on your face and basking in the cheer of its bright light all around you.
Savoring the future, or anticipation. For example, visualizing the next time you will enjoy a day at the beach with a good book or music, a cool drink sitting next to you on the soft white sand.
We can re-live the savored experience by verbally sharing the story about it with someone. We can strengthen our savored memories by describing them using our five senses: What did you See? Touch? Taste? Hear? Smell?
Recently I offered a workshop on "Cultivating Happiness," and taught Savoring and nine other practices that can produce a sense of deep well-being, otherwise known as happiness. Have you been looking for something to inspire and energize your team at work? Or something special for your girl's weekend? Contact me regarding scheduling a private workshop for your friends or workplace team.
Savor something today and find yourself happier.