The only time and place life exists is right here, right now. If we can learn to savor the moment that’s upon us, we can make the good things last a little bit longer–possibly for the rest of our lives.
“Why is it that some people seem to operate blissfully in a timeless realm, able to savor the moment, and produce high quality results, while others seem to be chained to a time limited existence, miserable, stressed and unproductive? Which category describes you?” – Mary-Frances Winters
Our busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us. When we slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and to love, we can cherish the moments that otherwise would be missed due to stress. Each time we choose to savor the moment we’re standing in, we develop an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the opportunities the present moment presents to us.
If we’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one we’re in? Is this very moment not as vital to our existence as the next? Do we not constantly find ourselves in the present moment? Can we not discover something extraordinary in the ordinary if we just change the way we see things?
Rather than always watching out for what’s ahead of us, let’s honor where we are. This is a journey made up of moments. As Marianne Williamson writes in A Year Of Miracles, “You are blessed ‘eternally,’ which means moment after moment. In any instant, regardless of what has happened in the past, the universe has arranged and is continuing to arrange infinite possibilities for you to prosper.”
Step into each moment knowing you are blessed, savor the moment, and let it reveal to you infinite possibilities for peace, joy, and abundance.
Increase Your Momentary Happiness
“Insufficient appreciation and savoring of the good events in your past and overemphasis of the bad ones are the two culprits that undermine serenity, contentment, and satisfaction.” – Martin Seligman, Ph.D., Authentic Happiness
Mindfulness has been successfully practiced for more than 2,500 years. The secret of its longevity lies in the ease and simplicity of the practice, along with its profound ability to alleviate human suffering. The beauty is that anyone can practice mindfulness anywhere.
Savoring is a form of mindfulness that can be practiced in any situation. It brings us fully into the present moment, where we can truly feel alive and make deeper connections with the world around us and within us. Savoring is also, as Dr. Martin Seligman notes in his book Authentic Happiness, one of the scientific practices that can increase our momentary happiness.
Though mindfulness and savoring are similar–they both echo Buddhist traditions, each playing a role in amplifying our happiness in the moment–savoring has its own unique qualities.
The 4 Kinds of Savoring
“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.” – Barbara De Angelis
As Dr. Seligman puts it: “The sheer speed of modern life and our extreme future-mindedness can sneak up on us and impoverish our present.” We are constantly saving time, but for what? We are constantly planning a future that arrived yesterday but also never comes. In doing so, we lose precious acres of the present.
A field of study called savoring can help us stake a new claim to the lost acreage of the present.
According to the two founding fathers of this field (Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff) there are four kinds of savoring that can be practiced:
- Basking: Receiving praise and congratulations.
- Thanksgiving: Expressing gratitude for blessings.
- Marveling: Losing the self in the wonder of the moment.
- Luxuriating: Indulging the senses.
5 Ways to Savor the Moment
“Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.” – Mother Teresa
Here are a few tried-and-true techniques that support the four kinds of savoring. Each will amplify your momentary experience of happiness and thus plant a positive seed in your mind that you can continue to dwell upon and grow.
Practice these simple techniques to savor the moment and make the most of life right now:
1. Sharing with others. Who can you share this moment with (even after it has passed), by telling them about the brilliance of it? When we share our positive emotions with others–whether it’s in person, over the phone, through text or email–we increase the longevity of the moment associated with those emotions.
2. Memory-building. Take mental photographs of or physical souvenirs from the moment, like a pebble from the beach or the vision of your toes in the sand. Reminisce about it later with others or write it down in your journal.
3. Self-congratulation. Celebrate your achievements and honor the small victories along the way. Stay with this sense of accomplishment, however small your forward step may be, and recognize it completely. In this way, your sense of success will outlast the moment it became realized.
4. Sharpening perceptions. Focus on certain elements you wish to amplify, and block out others that would compete for your attention. This can also be called selective perception. For instance, close your eyes while listening to music, really embracing the sounds as if they were enveloping your whole being. This practice plants a more precise picture in your mind when you look back on the moment.
5. Flow. Get totally immersed in something you love and try not to think about it–just sense it, totally and completely. For me, this means practicing yoga, writing, or crafting wooden signs. I am one with the moment; I am not chained to a limited existence. What do you love to do, that gives you a sense that time has stopped and only this moment matters? Do that more often.
- Do you practice any of these techniques?
- What flow activities fully immerse you in the moment?
- If the moment is unpleasant, are you willing to stay with it and dig a little deeper for the opportunity (hidden) in the experience?
- Can you make a conscious effort to stop rushing through your moments, so that you can fully live your life?
Please share your thoughts, how you savor the moment, and any experiences with me in the comments.
Share this with someone who you know is meant to enjoy their life.
Take a deep breath. Inhale the moment, exhale gratitude.