How to Savor the Moment

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The next time you get ready to drink something – whether it’s a beer, glass of water, juice, wine, pause to savor the moment. Use all of your senses to appreciate the impending taste.

Pause and let go of anything else you’re thinking about, whether future or past or mundane – let it go. Block out any other distractions around you, sharpen your perceptions and focus on your filled glass.

Look and enjoy the colors and reflections in your glass, swish the drink around in your glass and watch it flow.

Smell the aroma, breathe it in deeply and slowly.

Imagine its long complicated multi-level journey to get to you. Think of all of the people involved, what grew where, the sun that grew the ingredients, the technology that was created to make this possible. Now realize that all of that choreographed effort was done for you. It’s all culminating in you enjoying this drink in this penultimate moment. You’re the fruition of all that effort, the grand finale, the celebration. Congratulations!

Now taste. Slowly take a sip. Eke out every bit of pleasure from each mouthful. Savor the taste and imagine the benefits of it going through your body.

Now pause a moment to remember what that first taste was like. Thanks to habituation, no taste after that will be quite as amazing as the first sip. Take a mental snapshot of your experience

After you’re done, share your experience. Either set up the experience for someone you care about or at least tell them about your taste trip.

Savoring in Action

This technique can be expanded to any mundane experience you have in a day. It’s in line with the emerging field of ‘savoring’. Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff of Loyola University define savoring as “the awareness of pleasure and of the deliberate conscious attention to the experience of pleasure.”

By savoring, you’re giving yourself a chance to slow up, be present in a moment, be more mindful and concentrate better. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology says, “The speed of our modern life and our extreme future-mindedness can sneak up on us and impoverish our present…saving time (for what?) and planning for a future (that arrived yesterday but also never comes), we lose acres of the present.” What better way to bring ourselves back to the present than by consciously experiencing pleasure?

Here are five techniques that Bryant and Veroff suggest to promote savoring:

  1. Sharing with others
  2. Memory-building
  3. Self-congratulation
  4. Sharpening perceptions
  5. Absorption

How many of these techniques did you find present in the tasting exercise above?

Bryant and Veroff also have outlined four kinds of savoring that these techniques support. Which kinds did you access when you did the tasting exercise?

  1. Basking (receiving praise and congratulations)
  2. Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude for blessings)
  3. Marveling (losing the self in the wonder of the moment)
  4. Luxuriating (indulging the senses)

Try savoring in small and large places in your life. Pause especially after the fruition of a large project, presentation, or anything you worked hard to complete, were a little scared about, and did well. We can all use more pauses like that in our life, a life that’s just waiting to be savored.

Further Reading:
Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience by Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s teams building and team development activities:
Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency – engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game – for peak work performance and enjoyment.
At Your Best – Explore how to give your best and play to your strengths for sustained individual success.

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