Are you guilty of eating lunch while checking emails, grading papers while watching TV, chatting on IM while completing a work or school project? When we multi-task, we miss the moments that we should savor. This often leaves us feeling overworked, overstressed, and it ultimately prevents us from being able to acknowledge and understand how we’re really feeling. …So, how are you really feeling? If that question is somewhat of a challenge to answer, or your answer is not what you want, the skill of savoring may be something you’ll want to integrate into your life.
So what is savoring?
Savoring is the opposite of fast-paced multitasking. If life had a speed dial, savoring would be turning the dial down to very, very slow (think: going from “rabbit pace” to “tortoise pace”). Savoring is the act of immersing yourself in the present moment, so you can intentionally notice and attend to your positive experience.
Remember, humans have a natural negativity bias. When we actively attend to our positive experiences, we can actually affect our brain chemistry and begin to rebalance this bias. Those who integrate this critical skill into their everyday lives report meaningful improvements in their health, overall well-being, and ultimately, their level of happiness.
Some tips to begin savoring:
- Put down the phone. Our smartphones can help us do just about everything, but when it comes to savoring, they can be our biggest enemy. Most phones are even advertised as having the capability of utilizing multiple applications at a time–making multitasking available within our greatest multitaskers, our phones! It’s not uncommon now for people to be on their phones “checking-in” at gorgeous vacation destinations, rather than taking in and relishing the moment. Challenge yourself to spend a day only using your phone when it is critical, and see what you have been missing.
- Chew your food. There’s a reason why fast food is available on just about every street corner; Americans want their food fast. Even though our bodies take at least 20 minutes to register that we’re “full”, most of us eat our meals in just a handful of minutes. Challenge yourself to chew a bite at least 10 times before you swallow. Doing this will not only aid in digestion, it will also force you to more mindfully attend to your eating process.
- Get chatty. An effective way to begin savoring, is by talking about something you’re enjoying. Instead of spending your time commiserating or “venting” life’s problems to a co-worker or friend, choose a positive, more pleasing topic of conversation. Allow yourself to share things you’re excited about, like an upcoming vacation or recent accomplishment; as long as it’s not offered in the spirit of boastfulness, others will be inspired by your positivity and joy!
- Be thankful. Practicing gratitude during moments of busyness and stress can be one of the last things on our minds. To savor well, we must learn how to be grateful for the things we do have. Find a way to be intentional about recognizing the blessings in your life. Consider beginning your day by writing down 5 things you are grateful for that morning, or if it is the drudgery of the day that gets you down, consider setting a reminder on your phone (it’s OK to use your phone for this purpose!) that alerts you to reflect on something you’re thankful for 3 times throughout your day.
Today, when you’re experiencing something wonderful, like a sunset, or ocean breeze, or even the perfect cup of coffee, challenge yourself to think of how this moment is affecting each of your senses. Ask yourself, how does this moment… feel? … smell? …look? …taste? …sound? Take a moment and smell your roses, whatever they may be.