Good for the Soul…Savoring special moments

Photo credit: Mary Reitano

Holidays are perfect seasons to savor special moments. But, during the hustle and bustle, we can miss happy events without realizing it. Savoring means slowing down to deliberately appreciate good experiences. Savoring is focusing on the positive to increase gratitude and joy! “To savor something is to enjoy it fully, to appreciate it, or relish it.” ( Dr. Fred Bryant identified four ways to savor life: marveling (think of enjoying a beautiful sunset); luxuriating includes the senses (such as the delicious flavor of your holiday dessert); basking (focus on receiving praise); and thanksgiving (consciously expressing gratitude). We do not have to wait for these moments to happen. We can intentionally generate savoring opportunities. Here are suggestions.

Start with anticipation. Looking forward happily to an upcoming positive event extends the enjoyment. During holiday travels, don’t let other drivers get on your nerves. Instead, marvel at the landscape. I never tire of looking at sunsets—they fill me with awe. And, on a recent trip to New England, I was charmed by the beautiful, old colonial houses. What sights bring joy to you? Whether traveling or at home, listen to favorite songs, more than once, if possible. Immerse yourself fully in holiday music. When holiday events occur, take photos of special moments. Review them later and savor the wonderful experiences, loving relationships, and positive emotions. Share them with others–a joy shared is a joy doubled!

Does your family have funny stories they repeat every holiday, laughing as if hearing it for the first time? That is savoring. To enhance laughter, time with small children and pets usually provides endless chuckles. And kidding with others generates laughter and warm feelings. When eating holiday meals and treats, take time to prolong the pleasure. A chocolate shop in Asheville has amazing truffles. When I eat one, I let it melt slowly in my mouth to fully appreciate the taste. Enjoy delicious food or beverages. And remember to thank those who worked so hard to prepare them. Reflecting upon personal blessings can generate positive emotions. And, especially at the Thanksgiving holiday table, we can ask others: “What is one thing you are thankful for today?” And, when you need a break from holiday hustle and bustle, find a quiet space to decompress. Perhaps sit quietly on your porch before anyone else is up. Maybe take a short walk. Or savor the peace in the house late at night.

No matter what your situation, if you want to thrive this holiday season (and throughout the year), seek out positive experiences, emotions and relationships intentionally and appreciate them. I once wrote an article titled “Juice! Squeezing the Maximum Joy into Your Life” when I was undergoing treatment for a serious illness. I recalled that, when making fresh orange juice, we want to squeeze the very last drop out of the fruit. Likewise, by focusing on positive emotions and experiences, we can squeeze maximum joy from life and deeply appreciate it, regardless of circumstances.

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