If you’d like to be happier, savor your pleasurable moments with intensity.
If you spend some time with me, you might get sick of hearing me talk about how much I appreciate wind. I dig the sound it makes as it whips through the trees. I genuinely light up when I get to fall asleep listening to it. It’s music to me. Nauseous yet? Good. That means I’m on the right track. From Huffington Post:
Savoring is the ability to prolong and stretch enjoyment or positive emotional experiences. It’s the difference between wolfing down a meal versus lingering over every bite. It relates to how much time you spend sitting in front of a sunset (if you even stop at all).
We all know this. “Mindfulness” and “being present” is all the rage. So what stops us from savoring our experiences? Time stands in our way. We trick ourselves into thinking we don’t have enough of it. We all enjoy our days differently, but we often don’t slow down enough to truly dig into our most pleasurable moments.
Scientists have consistently found that the ability to savor promotes happiness. Which makes sense. The more you can prolong positive emotional experiences, the more positive emotions are filling up your day. In fact, the tendency to savor benefits individuals across the lifespan: studies show it predicts the subjective well-being for grade school children, adolescents, college students and the elderly.
There is a simple adjustment to be made, even if your days are full. Talk loudly and openly about what gets you off. If you’re trumpeting, you’ll be appreciating. Call a compatriot from the car during a commute and gush about something, anything.
Sharing at every stage (anticipation, experience, reminiscence) helps enhance our enjoyment–this can mean talking to others, writing about it or sharing on social media.
While running sprints recently, I peered over at a large grassy field. Some dudes were out flying remote control airplanes. I can’t think of an activity personally less appealing, but I’ve seen folks over the years engaging in the hobby. While toys don’t make me tick, I bet these pilots would rant and rave about it if asked, and they should.
Every morning, I anticipate cracking my eggs. I can’t wait to see the color, shape and size of the yolk. I spend an unreasonable amount of energy digging on my eggs. I tell friends and family how bright the yellow is and describe the rich flavor pop. I rave about the local farm that houses the chickens.
Don’t be the punk who is too cool to admit you appreciate the beauty the world has to offer. You’re just depriving yourself of pleasure and ultimately losing the opportunity to achieve a deeper level of happiness.
If you need me, I’ll be listening to a symphony of crashing waves and crickets.