Savoring the Goodness of the Moment

"Just as chewing on anxious and negative thoughts deepens their impact, savoring means to multiply the impact of a meaningful or pleasant experience by thinking about it. This means finding the 'moment,' as poet William Blake said, 'in every day that the devil cannot find.'

"You might stretch ahead to a moment and anticipate with pleasure how it will be, or stretch back to enjoy something from the past, or simply enhance your experience of the moment as it happens by commenting about it or quietly being with it for all its good. Start right now. Think about an experience where you felt moved or happy and recount the details to yourself. Perhaps it was the lunch you had at an outdoor cafe on a late winter day when the thermometer reached 70°F. Recall the feeling of the first hints of spring in the air, the trees preparing to bud, peeling coats and layers off to bask in the sunlight. Notice the ease that comes over your body as you settle into an easy breathing pattern. Imagine what would happen if you took these excursions in your mind more often, maybe even every week or every day while eating your ten-minute lunch at your desk. You could go back to your work refreshed from your journey. As with any new regimen, this will seem effortful at first, but whether you choose to take spontaneous savoring moments or link this practice with an existing habit such as doing the dishes or walking the dog, the more you engage in these excursions, the more they will become automatic and effortless destinations."

Savoring: Borrowing Ahead on Enjoyment and Meaning

"Imagine if each day, or even each week, you engaged in a savoring practice. That guarantees dozens of pleasant experiences each year that wouldn't otherwise occur, and you are the one who can make them happen. Psychologists Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff describe three ways that savoring can multiply the benefit of the moment.

"Anticipatory: Think ahead about an event you are looking forward to and tap into the excitement in advance. Begin imagining the positive feelings that you have about the people you will see and the activities you will engage in.

"In the moment: Briefly step back from what you are doing and appreciate that it is happening — like the family dinner that is going great, even with its chaos. Savor the vitality of that chaos.

"Reminiscent: Go back to a positive event and let your mind trace over the moments and experiences you enjoyed."