Sitting on the shore in New Jersey. Trying to focus on the beauty in front of me. Sounds of laughter, waves tumbling and the clacking of paddle games. Warmth of the sunshine on my face and that wonderful view. All right in front of me yet I am “trying” to focus on the sights and sounds.
Savoring is the act of enjoying things completely. Why is this beauty so hard for me to enjoy completely? My Science of Well-Being class is helping me figure it all out. A 10-week, online, course offered by Yale and I am in week 8. My final 4-week project is to select a re-wirement exercise that I focus on daily. I chose savoring because most of my life has been about finishing. Rushing to the to the goal that has been set. Whether it was finishing a meal or becoming a father, I focused mostly on the conclusion. My hope is to feel and experience the in-between moments during this exercise. I want to rewire my brain to completely enjoy the process. Make the “in-between” moments important, memorable and not lost to rushing through.

Do you feel the same way?

“Stop and smell the roses”, is what Mom would say. In that simple direction is tremendous power.

Savoring is one of the most important tools we have to build long term, sustainable happiness. In Sonja Lyubormirsky’s book “The How to Happiness” she explains “Those skilled at capturing the joy of the present moment – hanging on to good feelings, appreciating good things – are less likely to experience depression, stress, guilt, and shame.”

So, mom was right!

Capturing the joy of the present moment includes appreciating with all of your senses. Smell the aromas, hear the melodies, taste the flavors, feel the textures and see the beauty. Savoring is fun and once you get the hang of it, your day will slow down and those in-between moments become the most memorable part of you day. Memories that will be available to you any time you need to brighten your mood.

In fact, savoring the past, present and future are all part of sharpening your savoring tool. Here are four great ways to help you start to savor and create memories from Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. and author of “How to Outsmart your Smartphone”:

1. Savor the Past. Spend a few minutes thinking about a pleasant or joyful event that happened to you in your life.

2. Savor the Present. You do this by paying attention any time you experience something positive. Whenever you notice yourself feeling good, mentally hold on by thinking about the positive emotions and what caused them.

3. Capitalize on the Present. To savor your positive emotions even longer, you can do what is referred to as “capitalizing on positive events.” When you feel good, show it, tell it, or share it with others right away.

4. Savor the Future. You can experience positive emotions when you strive for a goal, even before we have achieved that goal. By using your imagination and thinking about a positive result, you can increase happiness. As a result, you’ll generate positive emotions from an event that hasn’t even happened yet.