I sit relaxing with the door open to the screen porch, listening to the gentle lullaby of the wind in the trees and the steady blessing of rain soaking the earth. I happen to be eating some chocolate fudge pudding (which might or might not be accompanied by a fudge brownie!) I am savoring the sweet chocolate sensation on my tongue, the music of wind and rain, the caresses of fresh air wafting through the doorway. I am in the moment. And I am struck by the simplicity of savoring.
I think of evenings with our grandsons sitting on the balcony of the condo awaiting their mother’s return from work. We greet neighbors; watch the sky as it is set ablaze by the setting sun; experience the sight of the shifting clouds as they take on myriad colors; take pleasure in our grandsons’ antics; savor one another’s company.
One can indulge in an expensive, elaborate meal. But one can just as easily savor a bowl of hot soup of a chilly day. We can enjoy a symphony at a favorite venue. But putting on some music and dancing around your living room offers an opportunity for simple pleasure as well.
Just this week I witnessed the first fireflies of the season. I stood on the porch, entranced by these delightful creatures, who are neither flies nor bugs, but are beetles like ladybugs or rhinoceros beetles. I savored the moment. It cost me nothing.
Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago, is the father of research on “savoring,” or the concept that being mindfully engaged and aware of your feelings during positive events can increase happiness in the short and long run. “It is like swishing the experience around … in your mind,” says Bryant, author of the 2006 book, Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience.
His research and the research of others has identified many benefits to savoring, including stronger relationships, improved mental and physical health, and finding more creative solutions to problems.
How descriptive! Let us savor and swish!
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: Bryant is in the process of analyzing a wide range of studies on savoring to determine what works and what doesn’t. Already, he has distilled his research into 10 succinct ways for us to develop savoring as a skill. Included in the ten is the suggestion to get absorbed in the moment:
“Studies of positive experiences indicate that people most enjoy themselves when they are totally absorbed in a task or moment, losing their sense of time and place—a state that psychologists call ‘flow.’”