This post is taken from my business blog www.clearmindco.co.uk/blog on Mindfulness and savouring the moments that make life worth living and boosting our well-being and positive thinking – and feeling!
Me savouring the moment in Ibiza .. on my own the day before meeting my daughters coming back from a year away, enjoying the peace, relaxation, meeting them again, sunshine, chatting with a new waitress, the scenery – I remember everything because I took time out, savoured it all – sounds of chatter and music, the sea and beaches, smell of meals and taste of my cocktail when it came! May 2016
We are told often to avoid negative feelings and thoughts, put them away, let them pass through our head and not hold on to them. But that doesn’t apply to our great and lovely experiences and thoughts, does it, our hopes and dreams, positive and helpful experiences?
Yet, do you hold on to those feelings, those thoughts, ideas and upbeat moments of ‘flow’ – bliss, perfection, ideals?
Moments might be..
- Your child laughing (I have a picture of my eldest at 3 doing that!)
- Beautiful scenes of waterfalls and lakes, mountains and jungle (did that too!)
- Listening to music
- Watching a play
- Remembering or watching a favourite film
- Spending time on your hobby or interest that boost you up
- Time spent with a lover
- Moments of discovery or achievement!
- Something you’ve created – all yours, achievement, beauty…
Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago, Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience, is the father of research on on being mindfully engaged and aware of your feelings during positive events. He says these will increase happiness in the short and long run. “It’s been presumed that when good things happen, people naturally feel joy for it,” he said about his research but that people don’t always do this and respond to positive experiences so 'miss' them and the opportunity to maximise our life.
- Better relationships
- Learning new positive behaviours
- Believing more strongly in good in the world around you -people, options, ideas and information
- More hopeful and positive outlook on life and people, opportunities for good
- Greater effort towards achieving more positive experiences and emotions if they are possible
- Creative problem solving and find options and new solutions in your life
- Mental and physical health follows these positive emotions and outlooks!
- Share your good feelings
Tell someone your good news, your happy times and positive experiences! When I did this with my travel adventures, EVERYONE loved it too and experienced these moments through me and it enhanced my experiences with a different perspective too!
- Take a mental (and actual!) photograph
Pause for a moment during the experience, savour it and take that mental picture that becomes a memory! A reminder of good times – again, this is something I personally experience now from my travels – and the achievement of living my dream! You can bring this to mind – to conciousness – than leave it in the unconcious where many daily experinces are stored because of the brain’s (mind’s) limited capacity for storing and processing conscious thoughts.
Our thoughts create our feelings, evoke our emotions – thinking of a good time, remembering that moment and seeing that mental picture (and photo!) reinvents those feelings within us – body as well as mind! We ‘feel’ the warmth again, the pleasure, the pride or excitement! It becomes physical again and this is good for you!
“It’s about saying to yourself, ‘This is great. I’m loving it,’” says Bryant.
- Congratulate yourself
Why not pat yourself on the back and take credit for your hard work and achievements? Pride is not a sin! It’s necessary as with all our emotions and feelings – it serves an important purpose in living life and developing us into our true and full selves!
Savour, share and remember the achievements and outcomes! Show others it’s possible too and this can motivate and inspire people to try more, or do things they have previously doubted they can! The ripple effect of your good feelings can become infinite out into the world!
- Sharpen your senses to take it all in
‘Touch’ your feelings is a phrase I often use with clients. It means feeling the feeling even if the event hasn’t happened – good and bad! Bad ones lose their impact and ongoing limiting influence on you whilst reinforcing positive good feelings and memories boosts us up and improves our well-being!
Memories i.e. experiences, are not sensed with just one but ALL our senses! Sight, sound, touch/ emotion, taste, smell. Our sixth sense too maybe – the unconscious, spiritual aspect of good moments – those in flow, when everything works well, all goes well and we wonder how it happened in that short ‘moment’!
If you savour your experiences – eating, drinking, talking, laughing, doing, seeing, feeling and more – you will take greater pleasure in it! You will then benefit from recalling it and reliving it! You will boost your immune system, increase positivity within and with others, improve relationships (people like happy and positive rather than down and negative!)
*Slow down, stop a moment and reflect on what is happening for you, around you, within you. Look at others around you and the environment you’re in; sounds, smells, tastes, sights and feelings.
*Experience each sense one by one, then as a whole, then in parts if you can. These are all memories – and our body as well as our mind remembers these feelings too(remember, you never forget how to ride a bike!)
*Share the experience, listen to how others experience it and enhance yours this way
- Shout it out and share it loudly
Laugh out loud
Jump up and down
Shout for joy when something good happens to you
Outwardly express what you feel and think! Enhance the experience by exaggerating it!
I remember doing this unexpectedly at Machu Picchu! There was a group of young people - in their 20s or late teens maybe - near me as I wanted a photo (being on my own) of me with the backdrop of the site. I saw them take theirs of each other, laughing, calling and then waving their arms up and holding them above their heads! It looked great! I knew what they felt as they shared with friends and me, with outer around them! When the young man took my camera (iPad) and pointed it at me, he said Smile, enjoy it and it was infectious what I'd just seen - and I just put up my arms above my head in that victory stance of achievement and celebration because "I had made it!" I had done it - gone there, the inspiration for my travel dream & achieved my dream! They all cheered support and that sealed the memory, the moment, the emotional moment of achievement and excitement that these strangers helped me create!
“People forget what you said, and forget what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel!”
People who outwardly express their good feelings tend to feel extra good, because it provides the mind with evidence that something positive has occurred. Culture informs how we behave (as with plane etiquette) – country to country, beliefs and expectations, business versus sports etc etc. but we know ours and sometimes even pushing that and doing our thing in the ‘wrong’ place can be good for us in building that strong experience! Respect, consideration too though!
- Compare the outcome to something worse.
We are often reminded that ‘things could be worse’ or ‘think about others who don’t have this’. This reminder – however irritating when told to do it – can, if we choose to compare it, can boost the positivity for us of that experience. (This again is something I’ve brought back with me from my travels …children sleeping on the streets, men living in their tuk tuks, families split up and lost, lack of education and opportunities, harsh experiences that I could only imagine!)
Comparison is about having a reference point to see how much further – how much better – things are than for some or even for you in the past or future! This can be motivating as well as satisfying and inspiring our gratitude to the universe. Our current place is better than it might be …
- An Attitude of Gratitude
Developing that attitude of gratitude with such experiences ensures we will get more. How? We feel we deserve them if we acknowledge them, and give thanks for them (to the person, the universe, to God or something similar).
We appreciate the feelings, the opportunity, the experience. We are grateful for that and for being able to know the feeling and experience – not everyone can (i.e. comparison and reference points..)
- Become absorbed
Becoming absorbed in an experience, an activity like reading, planning, creating something new is addictive! We love that feeling, don’t we? Those are moments of ‘flow’ when all goes well, when great things are achieved. And we have all our senses engaged in the task – e xperiencing it to the full, inside and out!
Children are particularly good at this without distractions of responsibilities and duties, unless adults pull them from it! Then they lose that feeling of flow and satisfaction …
- Time goes quickly
…and we might miss some things unless we make the effort to fully ‘experience it’. Good times seem to pass too quickly and less so for bad ones… or is that because we concentrate on those, worry and wonder, hold on to the thoughts and hence create and notice the feelings!
Stop and change that! Hold onto and savour the GOOD feelings, the positive thoughts, and the belief that good things abound! This is positive thinking and the ‘art of happiness’ (a book I read by the Dalai Llama).
Savouring the moment connects you to the past and the future, as well as the present! Fully in the moment, here and now, before and then, and recalling takes it into the future when we want to recall it – we have the option!
Enjoy the memories, the feelings, the experiences every day, every month, every year!