Positive Savouring / How mindful appreciation can make you happier

I have a controversial question for you. Can we focus too much on self-care? 

I think it is possible, yes.

We are advised to be mindful, meditate, write our daily gratitudes, journal our thoughts, practice breath work, take regular walks in nature, eat well and exercise and sleep more. And those are the non-negotiables!

This is all great, I am truly an advocate of self-care, however, recently I have been waking up feeling stressed that I don’t have enough time to do my set self-care schedule.

I get up early so that I have an hour in the morning before the children wake and this is my main time for daily personal care. 

I can’t fit in everything so I have been trying out a few things to see what works best and can be integrated into my day.

“Fill your life with as many moments and experiences of joy and passion as you humanly can. Start with one experience and build on it.” – Wieder Quotes

Savouring

Positive Savouring is described by Dr Martin Seligman as “the awareness of pleasure as it occurs and mindful conscious attention to the experience the pleasure derived from the experience.” 

The ‘father’ of positive savouring research, Dr Fred Bryant, describes savouring as ““like swishing the experience around … in your mind.”

The concept is that positive savouring deeply embeds enjoyable emotions and feelings in our mind that we can recall the positive experience at a later date, increasing our happiness in the short and the long run.

To me, savouring is a combination of meditation, feeling grateful and mindfulness so it feels more achievable to do on a regular basis.

Daily savouring

How many of us rush through our morning coffee while scrolling through our phone?

Take a pen now and make a list of at least 5 things you do every day that you enjoy.

Mine are: 

  • My first hot drink of the day
  • Showering
  • Eating breakfast
  • Sitting the sunshine with a mid morning drink
  • Good morning cuddle with my girls

Ideally choose activities you can do by yourself so you can truly focus on your enjoyment with no distractions. As a mum and during lockdown/school holidays, finding time alone can be tricky, however, we do what we can.

To start with, pick one activity to savour during your day.

Notice the sensory elements of your experience, the smell of your coffee, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the taste of the food you are eating, the soft skin of your children as they cuddle up close. Take a mental picture of your experience and store it in your mind. 

Once you have practiced savouring moments, you can embed them into regularly into your daily life. We often have breaks during our day, so use that time to savour the pleasurable moments.

Tips to enhance savouring

To increase the benefits of savouring focus on new experiences regularly. If we focus on the same activities every day we soon get used to them and they stop making us as happy as they used to. So the key tip here is to change your savouring focus regularly and try to add new little pleasures to your routine.

And share your experience with others! Research has shown that sharing pleasurable experiences with others actually increases our own happiness. (Jose, Lim, & Bryant, 2012). 

By taking time to fully appreciate the most enjoyable parts of our day, adding new pleasurable moments and sharing these with others, we can integrate this achievable self-care practice into our daily lives so it becomes a habit and not a chore.

Have a beautiful day,

Sara xx

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