Before I came to the UK, I had never heard of the word ‘savouring’. So, I sat there in one of my Positive Psychology lectures, and when someone mentioned this word for the first time, I was wondering what it might be. It didn’t took me long to realize that it must be something similar to enjoying, that it must be something positive.
But what does ‘savouring’ exactly mean? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, savouring is defined as “to enjoy food or an experience slowly, in order to enjoy it as much as possible”. Apparently my intuition wasn’t that bad! Moreover, Bryant & Veroff (2007) proposed savouring as positive counterpart to coping, involving noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life.
And… what makes savouring something that we can benefit from?
It is the combination of pleasure, mindfulness and gratitude. We experience something pleasurable, we immediately realize it and we are thankful for it. But savouring does not necessarily happen in this very moment. We can anticipate a positive event in the future, we can experience present pleasure as well as reminisce about positive experiences in the past. What matters, however, is that we are mindful in these moments.
So – how do we actually savour? Rashid (2008) created a worksheet with instructions:
In oder to savor an event or activity, it can be helpful to
- share the experience with others (for example by telling them about the pleasurable experience or engage in it with others)
- build memories (i.e. take photos or buy souvenirs that will remember you of the event)
- congratulate yourself for what has happened
- sharpen your perceptions and be mindful of the event by blocking out distractions
- get absorbed in the event in order to experience it fully.
Moreover, it is recommended to engage in the savouring activity for at least half a day, but in my opinion it can be also really effective to just savour one short activity, like eating that breakfast, doing this swim or going out for that beautiful walk. However, what is important, is that you start to integrate these pleasurable activities into your weekly schedule and resist the urge to put them off because you want to get other things done. Make your happiness a priority 🙂
Hope you have a great March!
Sending you lots of love from London ♥,