Savoring! 3 Ways to Squeeze More Sweetness out of Life

Savoring! 3 Ways to Squeeze More Sweetness out of Life

by Andrea Pacini February 03, 2020

After re-evaluating our priorities over the past week, I've heard many people say that they'd like to squeeze more sweetness out of each moment and memory. That imagery is so lovely, isn't it? Like life is a big juicy orange and it's our job to squeeze it 'til the last drop. 

Well it is and we can!

Enter the practice of savoring.

The savoring intervention was in heavy rotation in both my Positive Psychology courses at UPenn and in my wellness course at Yale as research has found that the act of savoring is what increases happiness, not the actual event itself.

For instance, say you're in the mood for some ice cream and decide to treat yourself to a sundae. You drive to the ice cream shop, order a double scoop of vanilla topped with hot fudge, butterscotch, nuts, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream and cherries - just the way you like it. It's served in a thick, old-fashioned glass dish.

You sit down to enjoy and before you take the first bite, you start scrolling through your phone, becoming immersed in your news feed - and a friend's recent vacation, choice of clothing, political views, inspirational quote, new puppy pics etc...the list goes on. Before you know it, your spoon is scraping against an empty dish. You've just had an ice cream sundae, but chances are high that you didn't actually experience, enjoy or savor it.

Now imagine that you have your sundae in hand and sit down in an overly stuffed booth the color of fresh pine needles. You set your heavy glass dish on the well-worn laminate tabletop and run your fingers over the wooden grooves of the windowsill where people who sat in this spot before you carved names, years and initials memorializing birthdays, anniversaries, best friendships and road trips. Some of the inscriptions make you smile "Eric and Jessie 4-eva '94" and you wonder if Eric and Jessie are living happily a happily ever after somewhere with a house full of dogs and kids. The sweet confectionery smells of the shop surround you, looking down at your sundae you admire the perfect spirals of whipped cream and the bright smattering of sprinkles. You take the first bite, letting the tastes, temperatures and textures melt together in your mouth in one perfectly scrumptious moment. 

You had an ice cream sundae in both scenarios but the second scenario will likely be much more memorable as you were actively involving all of your senses and powers of observation and perception to truly be present in the moment. 

Like most anything, savoring is a practice that needs to be cultivated - after two years of practicing this intervention, I still have to consciously remind myself to extend a particularly sweet moment. Here are some of the tips that work best for me:

1.  Enhance the pleasurable aspects of the moment. Once you've identified that this is a moment you'd like to savor, shift your focus to enhance what's making you feel good about it. Last month, my son found a strip of my fake eyelashes and put them on, knocked on his sister's door and pretended to be me. Within seconds, they were both doubled over with laughter. I knew that I wanted to remember the sound of my kids laughing together so I dropped the mail I was carrying, closed my eyes and focused my energy solely on listening to their sweet, still-childlike-but-not-for-much-longer voices laughing uncontrollably.

 2. Take a mental snapshot. Drink in every possible detail of the moment you're savoring. One evening after school last week, I took my kids to the beach for some nature therapy. My daughter was sitting next to me doing her homework, my son was surfing. As the sun faded, our eastern sky turned cotton candy pastel which cast a pearly glow over the water and sand. It was peace and perfection personified. I put my book down and mentally tried to capture as much as I could - the turquoise swirls and white tassels of my daughter's towel, her long hair dancing in the wind, the vibrant red of my son's surfboard on the shore, the silhouette of his lanky pre-teen body against the soft pink sky, the lull of rolling waves. I actively tried to observe and record each detail of this moment and it is a memory that I will return to often.

3. Find gratitude. My daughter was feeling stressed and overwhelmed with homework, testing and projects so I took her out on the deck underneath my favorite oak tree to moonbathe. I asked my son if he'd like to join us and to my surprise, he agreed. Then my husband came out to join us. The four of us sat on the deck looking up at a gorgeous full moon watching the clouds play in the moonbeams, looking for constellations, discussing beliefs and philosophies. It was a simple but magical moment. I thanked God for the beauty that we were all able to experience together and let that feeling of gratitude fill up my heartspace. This feeling of utter contentment and gratitude is now preserved in my mind and heart and available for me to return to any time, extending the sweetness of the experience.

Some of us already have a savoring practice and don't even realized that it's one of the most frequently-prescribed interventions in Positive Psychology!

What are your favorite ways to make the sweet moments last?




Andrea Pacini
Andrea Pacini

Author



Leave a comment


Also in Self-Care Sunday Blog Posts

Summer Solstice Sweetness: A Ritual to Light Up the Second Half of Your Year
Summer Solstice Sweetness: A Ritual to Light Up the Second Half of Your Year

by Andrea Pacini June 21, 2022

Happy Summer Solstice! The longest & brightest day of the year has been observed across all societies and cultures from Egyptian to English to Aztec as a a celebration of light, joy and illumination.

With so much darkness and heaviness in the world lately, now seems like a perfect time to Lighten Up!

Read More

How to Manifest with the New Moon
How to Manifest with the New Moon

by Andrea Pacini May 29, 2022

Working with the moon phases is an accessible way to deepen our connection both to nature and to ourselves. I find that honoring these rhythms of nature can make it easier to identify, recognize and honor our own natural ebbs and flows.

During the new moon cycle, the sun and moon align with each other, merging  yang energy - the heating, masculine, assertive energy of the sun, with yin energy - the cooling, feminine, receptive energy of the moon. The balancing of these two polar opposite energies in the dark sky creates a powerful invitation to both let go and start new - it's the perfect canvas for a fresh start.

Read More

Working with the Earth Element: How to Enhance Stability, Balance and Deep Healing in Your Life
Working with the Earth Element: How to Enhance Stability, Balance and Deep Healing in Your Life

by Andrea Pacini April 24, 2022

Intentionally connecting with the Earth and its qualities allows us to increase feelings of safety and abundance within our own physical body as well as in our surrounding environment. If you're feeling distracted, scattered, fearful, unstable or find it difficult to gain clarity - let Earth guide you to safety.

Read More