I absolutely love the field of Positive Psychology because they’re always throwing themselves into awesome research along the lines of “what’s more powerful, Hope or Gratitude?” I mean, these people really know how to dig in. I just read an article on the art of savoring, which I feel compelled to share. The authors (Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff, 2007) contend that it’s not good enough to stop and smell the roses. We need to learn to stop and “really savor the experience of the roses.” How can you not love these guys?!
Allow me to share their findings with you. I read the article with the intent to make this a full-blown daily practice for myself. Ask yourself if you would like to do the same! 🙂
To begin, they define savoring as, “The experience of trying to extract every nuance and association that is contained in the complexity of a pleasurable experience”.
Got it. I can do that.
Then we have to understand that there are four distinct types of savoring. (Can’t you see hashing out the details of this study over a nice glass of red wine? Sitting sea-side, during a sunset?)
So anyways, the first type of savoring is basking, which is the act of graciously receiving praise or accolades. This truly is a talent. Notice how many people deflect compliments with the skilled backhand of a tennis pro… I’m one of those people, though I’ve worked hard over the years to learn to shut up and say “thank you”.
The second type of savoring is marveling, or losing oneself in the power of the moment. This one I have no difficulty with. In fact, I have marveling down to a science. I marvel all over the place. I marvel in the grocery store, for god’s sake. And one of these days I’ll likely marvel my way right off the highway into a dusty arroyo if I can’t start paying more attention to the road and less to my marveling.
The third would be luxuriating, or immersing ourselves in a sensation. Oh ya. I can do that. I can luxuriate with the best.
And the fourth type of savoring is thanksgiving, or knowing how to express gratitude. I think I do this well. I get off on thanking people. But this is one of those things which takes serious self-evaluation, because we’re never as good at it as we think we are. There can never be too much gratitude in life. It powers us, most definitely. I believe this to my core.
So now that we understand the four types of savoring, we can concentrate on the five ways to strengthen or enhance our ability to savor, which are…
1.) Absorption: or allowing oneself to be immersed in the experience.
2.) Sharpening the senses: or focusing only on one sensation while blocking out any others.
3.) Memory building: such as meditating on the memory of a pleasurable experience.
4.) Sharing with others: this, of course, always heightens the experience.
5.) Self-congratulation: this is, according to the authors, “To allow oneself to feel good about having had an experience of savoring, to relish in the experience and even allow oneself a bit of healthy pride.”