In the midst of the turmoil surrounding the writing of my dissertation, I distinctly remember sharing with a friend, cheap but delicious burritos from the truck that parked at the university. It was an island of calm and positivity in a roiling sea of anxiety. I think my friend even suggested that we make a memory of the experience. The taste, the peace and the camaraderie were beautiful and still live clearly in my memory. It was over 25 years ago!
Savoring is a combination of noticing and appreciating something we enjoy in a manner that prolongs our pleasure. Savoring has been found to increase pleasure, happiness and fulfillment in a variety of studies. You can savor an external event, like my burrito, or an internal experience, like my island of calm. Past, present and future all afford good savoring opportunities.
In the present, savoring a good wine or a good burrito enhances the experience. Mindful awareness of ordinary experience is a way to savor. It involves noticing beauty, or other qualities of the experience, without judgment, e.g., without thinking that you've seen a more beautiful mountain. It involves being present for that experience, without interference... no phones please. Celebrate success with others or enjoy it alone. Take a mental photograph, or select a keepsake or souvenir as a concrete reminder. Savoring takes a little time, but it's worth it.
We can savor by reflecting on the past. Savoring a success enhances and extends the life of your satisfaction. Those diplomas on your wall serve to remind you of accomplishments which you can savor anew each time your eyes rest on them. The photo album of your summer vacation allows you to replay the experiences. Those that shared the experience can remind you, as I believe my friend is now reminded, of your shared burrito. The memory can be sweet, or bittersweet.
For the future, writing the announcement you'll send out when you finish your degree (or complete any other major undertaking) allows you to savor in anticipation of the event. You can savor, in advance, the happiness you'll feel and the fun you'll have visiting a friend, or the delight you'll feel after running the big race or wrapping up the big project.
You can bask in the glory of your success, experience gratitude for something you've received, marvel at the majesty of the world, or indulge in the glory of the senses. They're all forms of savoring and the more you savor, the greater the contribution to well-being. What can you savor today?
Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small - it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time....Georgia O'Keeffe