Savouring

Savouring means to 'taste' or to enjoy something to the full. Taking time to “stop and smell the roses” can enhance happiness and boost feelings of appreciation and gratitude. Savouring helps us deepen the impact that positive events have on our emotional lives —rather than just let them slip from our awareness, or failing to register them in the first place. By consciously letting positive events sink into our minds, they stay with us long after they are over. 

In our daily lives, we don’t always notice or acknowledge the pleasant and positive things around us. We may be in a rush, distracted by other thoughts, or busy checking our phones. As a result, we miss opportunities for positive experiences and positive emotions, the building blocks of long-term happiness.

 

Research suggests that we can maximize the benefits of the good things around us by consciously savouring them rather than letting them pass us by or taking them for granted. This exercise offers one basic way to start savouring the bounty of goodness around us—not by going to some exotic destination but by paying more careful attention to the sights, smells, and sounds we often neglect.

How to Do It

 

Set aside 20 minutes to take a walk outside by yourself every day for a week. Try to stick to this schedule unless the weather is extremely bad. You can still do this exercise in a light rain—provided you have a decent umbrella and rain jacket.

 

As you walk, try to notice as many positive things around you as you can. These can be sights, sounds, smells, or other sensations. For example, you could focus on the breathtaking height of a tree you never really noticed before, the intricate architecture of a building on your block, the dance of sunshine off a window or puddle, the smell of grass or flowers, or the way other people look out for each other as they navigate crowded streets.

 

As you notice each of these positive things, acknowledge each one in your mind—don’t just let them slip past you. Pause for a moment as you hear or see each thing and make sure it registers with your conscious awareness, really take it in. Try to identify what it is about that thing that makes it pleasurable to you.

 

Try to walk a different route each day so you don’t become too accustomed to any of these things and start to take them for granted.

© 2020 by Theresa Cawley