Happiness and Savoring

November 18, 2013

Have you ever wolfed down a candy bar and then felt like it was gone too quickly and you didn’t even really get a chance to taste it?  Or perhaps you’ve felt that way about a moment in life.  We’ve all wished at some point that we had been more in the moment, enjoying it, rather than recording it or focusing on something else at the same time.  I once spent an entire fireworks display behind my camera and afterwards felt like I hadn’t been there at all.  We’re talking about savoring – taking the time and making the effort to fully appreciate something in the now.  Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness) counts this as one of the strategies we can use to become happier.  She points out that you can savor in three time periods: past, present, and future.  People who savor the past (reminisce happily) tend to be good at buffering stress.  People who savor the present (mindfully appreciating what is happening right now) are less likely to experience guilt, shame, and depression.  And people who savor the future (fantasize positively) tend to be optimistic.  Again, this is something you can cultivate so if you’re not practiced at savoring, you can start now.  Positively fantasize about eating that Snickers Almond, then fully enjoy eating it, then reminisce about how tasty it was, and now you have a solid 15 minutes of candy bar joy rather than the usual two!  Makes the $1 price tag worth it.