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Savoring

So often, bad moments stick with us like Velcro, and good moments slide away like eggs cooked in a nonstick pan. 

I recently read something I really liked. When Toni Morrison – the literary giant who died last year – was asked what it felt like to get the phone call letting her know she had won the Nobel Prize in 1993, she recalled her huge smile and the enormous party she threw to celebrate with everyone she loved. She danced the night away.

I liked thinking of the way she fully celebrated her accomplishment, rather than shrinking from it.

So often, we barely acknowledge moments of joy and achievement before setting our sights on our next goal. These positive moments don’t have to be as big as winning the Nobel Prize. They might be as simple as finding a good parking spot at Costco, sharing a moment of laughter on a conference call or finishing a hard project at work.

It’s nice to grab hold of these positive moments, big and small, and stay with the experiences in a more intentional way. In positive psychology, relishing moments in this way is known as savoring. 

You start by staying with the experience – grabbing hold of the moment and feeling it fully, as if you’re turning a recorder on and installing it in your brain. You can enhance these experiences by slowing down and expressing your positive emotions in your facial expression and body language. You can also share the experiences with others, even just by telling people about it.

So, the next time you experience something good… notice it. Savor it. Allow it to sink in. Let a smile appear on your face. Share it with someone. 

And if it’s something extra good, be sure to have an enormous party to celebrate and dance with everyone you love.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.