When good things come around, like the holiday season, people think they’ll automatically feel happy,” says Fred Bryant, Ph.D., a social psychologist at Loyola University in Chicago and coauthor of the book Savoring. “But we don’t always react to these good things in a way that maximizes their benefits.” (You might, for instance, futz around with the place settings instead of drinking in your family’s laughter, or dismiss a long-deserved promotion as just extra work.) Enter the technique psychologists call savoring, a way to fully absorb life’s wonderful moments, large and small. “Through your thoughts and behavior, you extend and intensify a good experience, extracting every morsel from it,” says Bryant. The result: not just more delightful moments but a boost in overall happiness levels as well.
“Savoring gives you a bigger dose of positive emotion,” notes Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work. “And positive emotions have been shown to bring our blood pressure down, reverse the stress response, and give us more access to the parts of our brains needed for creativity and problem-solving.” Plus, a number of studies have linked positive emotions with a host of health benefits, from better blood sugar levels to greater longevity.
So now that you know that savoring could be great for you, how do you actually do it? T