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Learn To Savor The Moment: Here's How!

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Updated August 03, 2013

Learn To Savor The Moment: Here's How!

Stop and smell the flowers -- savor the moment!

Photo from iStockphoto.com
Learning to "savor the moment" in life is a convenient, free, and effective way to increase your happiness and quality of life, and reduce stress. Enjoying what you have can help you to appreciate what you've got rather than lamenting what you don't have and creating stress by striving for too much. Being able to savor the moment with loved ones can bring a stronger connection and sense of appreciation, which leads to better quality relationships, and all the benefits of social support that they bring. Learn more with these techniques to savor moment in life.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Ongoing

Here's How:

  1. Focus On Details
    Sometimes as we go through life, we forget to stop and enjoy the little things; indeed, it's possible to go through an entire day either stuck in your ruminations about the past or anxiety over the future, never really seizing the moment and noticing the pleasant things that are happening right now (and passing up positive opportunities right and left). As you savor the moment, notice the little things that can make a day special -- the smile of a friend, the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of a sunset. Notice and enjoy what's around you, moment by moment, and it's almost impossible to stress.

  2. Focus on Sensations
    As you're experiencing your day, notice and memorize the details -- especially the positive details -- of what's going on around you. Create a memory. Notice the sounds you hear, like the sound of children't laughter in the background. Notice the smells, like the scent of a fresh sea breeze. And how did that wind feel on your face? Noticing these types of sensory details helps you live fully in the moment, and can help evoke pleasant memories when you hear music, smell aromas, or feel sensations you experience on the days that you want to savor.

  3. Focus On The Positive
    As humans, we're naturally wired to notice the negative events in life more than the positive, as these are what we need to keep track of to maintain our safety: if we're aware of threats around us, we're more able to launch a defense. However, if we actively work to focus on the positive, we can stress less and enjoy life more from an increasingly optimistic vantage point. To savor the moment, notice what's going right, and appreciate it. This isn't the same is pretending you're happy when you're not; it's more about noticing the things that lead to greater happiness and reduced stress.
  4. Express Gratitude
    Feeling gratitude goes along with noticing the positive, and is an excellent way to savor the moment. Notice all the nice things that people do for you (and thank them whenever possible), or simply notice what you enjoy about people when they're just being themselves (and be sure to tell them that, too). Appreciate what goes right in your day as it happens, and write it down in a gratitude journal at night -- it's a surprisingly effective way to both raise your level of daily gratitude, and build a record of all the things in your life that can make you happy when you're having a bad day.
  5. Do What You Enjoy
    Life is meant to be enjoyed and savored as it's lived. If you find yourself dreading Mondays or going through a full day (or week!) without experiencing anything you want to savor, be sure you add activities into your schedule that you enjoy (called 'gratifications'), and savor them as you're doing them. You may feel you don't have time for fun, but consider how much extra energy and motivation you'll get from pursuing hobbies and gratifications, and how that energy might help you with your regular responsibilities, and you may find a way to reset your priorities. Have fun, and savor your life!

Tips:

  1. Practice mindful eating--it's a great way to maintain a healthy weight, enjoy your food, and practice meditation at the same time. Read more about mindful eating.
  2. Maintaining a gratitude journal can help you notice the positive during the day as you think about what you'll be writing about that night. Learn more about how to maintain a gratitude journal.

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